The β-amyloid peptide may play a central role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. We have evaluated variants in seven Aβ-degrading genes (ACE, ECE1, ECE2, IDE, MME, PLAU, and TF) for association with AD risk in the Genetic and Environmental Risk in Alzheimer's Disease Consortium 1 (GERAD1) cohort, and with three cognitive phenotypes in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936), using 128 and 121 SNPs, respectively. In GERAD1, we identified a significant association between a four-SNP intragenic ECE1 haplotype and risk of AD in individuals that carried at least one APOE ε4 allele (P = 0.00035, odds ratio = 1.61). In LBC1936, we identified a significant association between a different two-SNP ECE1 intragenic haplotype and non-verbal reasoning in individuals lacking the APOE ε4 allele (P = 0.00036, β = -0.19). Both results showed a trend towards significance after permutation (0.05 A (rs213045). We observed significantly less expression from the 338A variant in two human neuroblastoma cell lines and speculate that this promoter may be subject to tissue-specific regulation. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.