Immunization using amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) reduces both the Alzheimer's–like neuropathology and spatial memory impairments in animal models. But in humans these treatments have been associated with complications such as meningo-encephalitic cellular inflammatory reactions in some patients. Two papers in October 15 Nature Medicine, show that vaccines designed to clear amyloid-beta (Aβ) protein in Alzheimer's patients are selective for the pathogenic target structures and can be further refined to become more selective.

Christoph Hock and colleagues at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, performed immunohistochemical examinations of the brains of both transgenic mice and human patients with β-amyloid pathology. They observed that antibodies from sera of patients who received a primary injection of pre-aggregated Aβ42 recognized β-amyloid plaques, diffuse Aβ deposits and vascular β- amyloid in brain blood vessels. The antibodies did not cross-react with native full-length β-amyloid precursor protein or its physiological derivatives, including soluble Aβ42 (...

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