Anti-amyloid-β immunotherapy in Alzheimer's disease: Relevance of transgenic mouse studies to clinical trials

Donna M. Wilcock, Carol A. Colton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Therapeutic approaches to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease are focused primarily on the amyloid-β peptide which aggregates to form amyloid deposits in the brain. The amyloid hypothesis states that amyloid is the precipitating factor that results in the other pathologies of Alzheimer's disease. One such therapy that has attracted significant attention is anti-amyloid-β immunotherapy. First described in 1999, immunotherapy uses anti-amyloid-β antibodies to lower brain amyloid levels. Active and passive immunization were shown to lower brain amyloid levels and improve cognition in multiple transgenic mouse models. Mechanisms of action were studied in these mice and revealed a complex set of mechanisms that depended on the type of antibody used. When active immunization advanced to clinical trials a subset of patients developed meningoencephalitis, an event not predicted in mouse studies. It was suspected that a T-cell response due to the type of adjuvant used was the cause. Passive immunization has also advanced to Phase III clinical trials on the basis of successful transgenic mouse studies. Reports from the active immunization clinical trial indicated that, similarly to effects observed in mouse studies, amyloid levels in brain were reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-569
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Amyloid
  • Antibody
  • Cerebral amyloid angiopathy
  • Clinical trial
  • Immunization
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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