Many different proteins associated with the cell cycle, including cyclins, cyclin-dependent kinases, and proto-oncogenes such as c-MYC (MYC), are increased in degenerating neurons. Consequently, an ectopic activation of the cell cycle machinery in neurons has emerged as a potential pathogenic mechanism of neuronal dysfunction and death in many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. However, the exact role of cell cycle re-entry during disease pathogenesis is unclear, primarily because of the lack of relevant research models to study the effects of cell cycle re-entry on mature neurons in vivo. To address this issue, we developed a new transgenic mouse model in which forebrain neurons (CaMKII-MYC) can be induced to enter the cell cycle using the physiologically relevant proto-oncogene MYC to drive cell cycle re-entry. We show that such cell cycle re-entry results in neuronal cell death, gliosis, and cognitive deficits. These findings provide compelling evidence that dysregulation of cell cycle re-entry results in neurodegeneration in vivo. Our current findings, coupled with those of previous reports, strengthen the hypothesis that neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease, similar to cellular proliferation in cancer, is a disease that results from inappropriate cell cycle control.