A soluble monomeric form of Alzheimer's amyloid-beta (1-40) peptide (sAbeta1-40) is present in the circulation and could contribute to neurotoxicity if it crosses the brain capillary endothelium, which comprises the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vivo. This study characterizes endothelial binding and transcytosis of a synthetic peptide homologous to human sAbeta1-40 using an in vitro model of human BBB. 125I-sAbeta1-40 binding to the brain microvascular endothelial cell monolayer was time dependent, polarized to the apical side, and saturable with high- and low-affinity dissociation constants of 7.8+/-1.2 and 52.8+/-6.2 nM, respectively. Binding of 125I-sAbeta1-40 was inhibited by anti-RAGE (receptor for advanced glycation end products) antibody (63%) and by acetylated low density lipoproteins (33%). Consistent with these data, transfected cultured cells overexpressing RAGE or macrophage scavenger receptor (SR), type A, displayed binding and internalization of 125I-sAbeta1-40. The internalized peptide remains intact > 94%. Transcytosis of 125I-sAbeta1-40 was time and temperature dependent, asymmetrical from the apical to basolateral side, saturable with a Michaelis constant of 45+/-9 nM, and partially sensitive to RAGE blockade (36%) but not to SR blockade. We conclude that RAGE and SR mediate binding of sAbeta1-40 at the apical side of human BBB, and that RAGE is also involved in sAbeta1-40 transcytosis.