Cognitive dysfunction is a key symptom of ageing and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Strategies to enhance cognition would impact the quality of life for a significant proportion of the ageing population. The α-klotho protein may protect against cognitive decline through multiple mechanisms: such as promoting optimal synaptic function via activation of N-methyl- d -aspartate (NMDA) receptor signalling; stimulating the antioxidant defence system; reducing inflammation; promoting autophagy and enhancing clearance of amyloid-β. However, the molecular and cellular pathways by which α-klotho mediates these neuroprotective functions have yet to be fully elucidated. Key questions remain unanswered: which form of α-klotho (transmembrane, soluble or secreted) mediates its cognitive enhancing properties; what is the neuronal receptor for α-klotho and which signalling pathways are activated by α-klotho in the brain to enhance cognition; how does peripherally administered α-klotho mediate neuroprotection; and what is the molecular basis for the beneficial effect of the VS variant of α-klotho? In this review, we summarise the recent research on neuronal α-klotho and discuss how the neuroprotective properties of α-klotho could be exploited to tackle age- and neurodegeneration-associated cognitive dysfunction.