Central nervous system microglia promote neuronal regeneration and sequester toxic β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition during Alzheimer's disease. We show that the cytokine erythropoietin (EPO) decreases the toxic effect of Aβ on microgliain vitro. EPO up-regulates the cysteine-rich glycosylated wingless protein Wnt1 and activates the PI 3-K/Akt1/mTOR/ p70S6K pathway. This in turn increases phosphorylation and cytosol trafficking of Bad, reduces the Bad/Bcl-xL complex and increases the Bcl-xL/Bax complex, thus preventing caspase 1 and caspase 3 activation and apoptosis. Our data may foster development of novel strategies to use cytoprotectants such as EPO for Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative disorders.