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Amyloid-beta (Aβ) has a pivotal function in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. To investigate Aβ neurotoxicity, we used an in vitro model that involves Aβ25–35-induced cell death in the nerve growth factor-induced differentiation of PC12 cells. Aβ25–35 (20 μM) treatment for 24 h caused apoptotic cell death, as evidenced by significant cell viability reduction, LDH release, phosphatidylserine externalization, mitochondrial membrane potential disruption, cytochrome c release, caspase-3 activation, PARP cleavage, and DNA fragmentation in PC12 cells. Aβ25–35 treatment led to autophagic cell death, as evidenced by augmented GFP-LC3 puncta, conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II, and increased LC3-II/LC3-I ratio. Aβ25–35 treatment induced oxidative stress, as evidenced by intracellular ROS accumulation and increased production of mitochondrial superoxide, malondialdehyde, protein carbonyl, and 8-OHdG. Phytoestrogens have been proved to be protective against Aβ-induced neurotoxicity and regarded as relatively safe targets for AD drug development. Gypenoside XVII (GP-17) is a novel phytoestrogen isolated from Gynostemma pentaphyllum or Panax notoginseng. Pretreatment with GP-17 (10 μM) for 12 h increased estrogen response element reporter activity, activated PI3K/Akt pathways, inhibited GSK-3β, induced Nrf2 nuclear translocation, augmented antioxidant responsive element enhancer activity, upregulated heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) expression and activity, and provided protective effects against Aβ25–35-induced neurotoxicity, including oxidative stress, apoptosis, and autophagic cell death. In conclusion, GP-17 conferred protection against Aβ25–35-induced neurotoxicity through estrogen receptor-dependent activation of PI3K/Akt pathways, inactivation of GSK-3β and activation of Nrf2/ARE/HO-1 pathways. This finding might provide novel insights into understanding the mechanism for neuroprotective effects of phytoestrogens or gypenosides.