Aging is known to be the most prominent risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD); however, the underlying mechanism linking brain aging with AD pathogenesis remains unknown. The expression of human amyloid beta 42 peptide (Aβ₁₋₄₂), but not Aβ₁₋₄₀ in Drosophila brain induces an early onset and progressive autophagy-lysosomal neuropathology. Here we show that the natural process of brain aging also accompanies a chronic and late-onset deterioration of neuronal autophagy-lysosomal system. This process is characterized by accumulation of dysfunctional autophagy-lysosomal vesicles, a compromise of these vesicles leading to damage of intracellular membranes and organelles, necrotic-like intraneuronal destruction and neurodegeneration. In addition, conditional activation of neuronal autophagy in young animals is protective while late activation is deleterious for survival. Intriguingly, conditional Aβ₁₋₄₂ expression limited to young animals exacerbates the aging process to a greater extent than Aβ₁₋₄₂ expression in old animals. These data suggest that the neuronal autophagy-lysosomal system may shift from a functional and protective state to a pathological and deleterious state either during brain aging or via Aβ₁₋₄₂ neurotoxicity. A chronic deterioration of the neuronal autophagy-lysosomal system is likely to be a key event in transitioning from normal brain aging to pathological aging leading to Alzheimer's neurodegeneration.