Papillomavirus-like particles are an effective platform for amyloid-β immunization in rabbits and transgenic mice

Eduardo Zamora, Alessandra Handisurya, Saeed Shafti-Keramat, David Borchelt, Gay Rudow, Katherine Conant, Christopher Cox, Juan C. Troncoso, Reinhard Kirnbauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Immunization with amyloid-β (Aβ) prevents the deposition of Aβ in the brain and memory deficits in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD), opening the possibility for immunotherapy of AD in humans. Unfortunately, the first human trial of Aβ vaccination was complicated, in a small number of vaccinees, by cell-mediated meningoencephalitis. To develop an Aβ vaccine that lacks the potential to induce autoimmune encephalitis, we have generated papillomavirus-like particles (VLP) that display 1-9 aa of Aβ protein repetitively on the viral capsid surface (Aβ-VLP). This Aβ peptide was chosen because it contains a functional B cell epitope, but lacks known T cell epitopes. Rabbit and mouse vaccinations with Aβ-VLP were well tolerated and induced high-titer autoAb against Aβ, that inhibited effectively assembly of Aβ1-42 peptides into neurotoxic fibrils in vitro. Following Aβ-VLP immunizations of APP/presenilin 1 transgenic mice, a model for human AD, we observed trends for reduced Aβ deposits in the brain and increased numbers of activated microglia. Furthermore, Aβ-VLP vaccinated mice also showed increased levels of Aβ in plasma, suggesting efflux from the brain into the vascular compartment. These results indicate that the Aβ-VLP vaccine induces an effective humoral immune response to Aβ and may thus form a basis to develop a safe and efficient immunotherapy for human AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2662-2670
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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