Epidemiological evidence suggests that moderate consumption of red wine reduces the incidence of Alzheimer disease (AD). To study the protective effects of red wine, experiments recently were executed in the Tg2576 mouse model of AD. These studies showed that a commercially available grape seed polyphenolic extract, MegaNatural-AZ (MN), significantly attenuated AD-type cognitive deterioration and reduced cerebral amyloid deposition (Wang, J., Ho, L., Zhao, W., Ono, K., Rosensweig, C., Chen, L., Humala, N., Teplow, D. B., and Pasinetti, G. M. (2008) J. Neurosci. 28, 6388-6392). To elucidate the mechanistic bases for these observations, here we used CD spectroscopy, photo-induced cross-linking of unmodified proteins, thioflavin T fluorescence, size exclusion chromatography, and electron microscopy to examine the effects of MN on the assembly of the two predominant disease-related amyloid beta-protein alloforms, Abeta40 and Abeta42. We also examined the effects of MN on Abeta-induced cytotoxicity by assaying 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide metabolism and lactate dehydrogenase activity in Abeta-treated, differentiated pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. Initial studies revealed that MN blocked Abeta fibril formation. Subsequent evaluation of the assembly stage specificity of the effect showed that MN was able to inhibit protofibril formation, pre-protofibrillar oligomerization, and initial coil --> alpha-helix/beta-sheet secondary structure transitions. Importantly, MN had protective effects in assays of cytotoxicity in which MN was mixed with Abeta prior to peptide assembly or following assembly and just prior to peptide addition to cells. These data suggest that MN is worthy of consideration as a therapeutic agent for AD.