Beta-site amyloid precursor protein-cleaving enzyme-1 (BACE1) initiates generation of amyloid beta (Abeta), a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. We investigated the impact of BACE1 protein level on endogenous Abeta. Endogenous Abeta and BACE1 protein levels were concurrently and significantly reduced during early life. However, Abeta levels were similar between BACE1 transgenic and wildtype mice. This suggests that BACE1 protein level has a minimal effect on the level of endogenous Abeta. Consequently, other factors must be involved in modulation of Abeta production in adult and ageing brain and investigation of such factors may yield therapeutic targets. Further, these results suggest that substantial inhibition of BACE1 in brain may be required for clinical benefit in Alzheimer's disease.