Targeting the initial formation of amyloid assemblies is a preferred approach to therapeutic intervention in amyloidoses, which include such diseases as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, etc., as the early-stage, oligomers that form before the development of beta-conformation-rich fibers are thought to be toxic. X-ray patterns from amyloid assemblies always show two common intensity maxima: one at 4.7 A corresponding to the hydrogen-bonding spacing between the beta-chains, and the other at approximately 10 A corresponding to the spacing between beta-pleated sheets. We report here the application of fiber x-ray diffraction to monitor these structural indicators of amyloid fiber assembly in the presence of small, aromatic molecules, some of which have been assessed by other techniques as being inhibitory. The compounds included butylated hydroxytoluene, chloramphenicol, cotinine, curcumin, diphenylalanine (FF), ethyl 3-aminobenzoate methane sulfonate, hexachlorophene, melatonin, methylpyrrolidine, morin, nicotine, phenolphthalaine, PTI-00703 (Cat's claw), pyridine, quinine, sulfadiazine, tannic acid, tetracaine, tetrachlorosalicylanilide, and tetracycline. Their effects on the aggregation of Abeta1-40, Abeta11-25, Abeta12-28, Abeta17-28, Abeta16-22, and Abeta16-22[methylated] analogues were characterized in terms of the integral widths and integrated intensities of the two characteristic reflections. Peptide Abeta11-25 with or without small molecules showed varying relative intensities but similar coherent lengths of 28-49 A in the intersheet and 171-221 A in the H-bonding directions. PTI-00703, however, abolished the H-bonding reflection. Among previously reported aromatic inhibitors for Abeta11-25, PTI-00703, tannic acid, and quinine were more effective than curcumin, morin, and melatonin based on the criterion of crystallite volume. For the N-methylated and control samples, there were no substantial differences in spacings and coherent lengths; however, the relative volumes of the beta-crystallites, which were calculated from the magnitude of the intensities, decreased with increase in concentration of Abeta16-22Me. This may be accounted for by the binding of Abeta16-22Me to the monomer or preamyloid oligomer of Abeta16-22. The fiber diffraction approach, which can help to specify whether an amyloidophilic compound acts by impeding hydrogen-bonding or by altering intersheet interactions, may help provide a rationale basis for the development of other therapeutic reagents.