Immunotherapy targeting the C-terminal domain of TDP-43 decreases neuropathology and confers neuroprotection in mouse models of ALS/FTD

Tariq Afroz, Elodie Chevalier, Mickael Audrain, Christopher Dumayne, Tamar Ziehm, Roger Moser, Anne Laure Egesipe, Lorène Mottier, Monisha Ratnam, Manuela Neumann, Daniel Havas, Romain Ollier, Kasia Piorkowska, Mayank Chauhan, Alberto B. Silva, Samjhana Thapa, Jan Stöhr, Andrej Bavdek, Valerie Eligert, Oskar AdolfssonPeter T. Nelson, Sílvia Porta, Virginia M.Y. Lee, Andrea Pfeifer, Marie Kosco-Vilbois, Tamara Seredenina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Effective therapies are urgently needed to safely target TDP-43 pathology as it is closely associated with the onset and development of devastating diseases such as frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 pathology (FTLD-TDP) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, TDP-43 pathology is present as a co-pathology in other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Our approach is to develop a TDP-43-specific immunotherapy that exploits Fc gamma-mediated removal mechanisms to limit neuronal damage while maintaining physiological TDP-43 function. Thus, using both in vitro mechanistic studies in conjunction with the rNLS8 and CamKIIa inoculation mouse models of TDP-43 proteinopathy, we identified the key targeting domain in TDP-43 to accomplish these therapeutic objectives. Targeting the C-terminal domain of TDP-43 but not the RNA recognition motifs (RRM) reduces TDP-43 pathology and avoids neuronal loss in vivo. We demonstrate that this rescue is dependent on Fc receptor-mediated immune complex uptake by microglia. Furthermore, monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment enhances phagocytic capacity of ALS patient-derived microglia, providing a mechanism to restore the compromised phagocytic function in ALS and FTD patients. Importantly, these beneficial effects are achieved while preserving physiological TDP-43 activity. Our findings demonstrate that a mAb targeting the C-terminal domain of TDP-43 limits pathology and neurotoxicity, enabling clearance of misfolded TDP-43 through microglia engagement, and supporting the clinical strategy to target TDP-43 by immunotherapy. Significance statement: TDP-43 pathology is associated with various devastating neurodegenerative disorders with high unmet medical needs such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease. Thus, safely and effectively targeting pathological TDP-43 represents a key paradigm for biotechnical research as currently there is little in clinical development. After years of research, we have determined that targeting the C-terminal domain of TDP-43 rescues multiple patho-mechanisms involved in disease progression in two animal models of FTD/ALS. In parallel, importantly, our studies establish that this approach does not alter the physiological functions of this ubiquitously expressed and indispensable protein. Together, our findings substantially contribute to the understanding of TDP-43 pathobiology and support the prioritization for clinical testing of immunotherapy approaches targeting TDP-43.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106050
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
  • Immunotherapy
  • Microglia
  • TDP-43

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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