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Vaccine triggers immune response, prevents Alzheimer's
Date:5/19/2008

A vaccine created by University of Rochester Medical Center scientists prevents the development of Alzheimers disease-like pathology in mice without causing inflammation or significant side effects.

Vaccinated mice generated an immune response to the protein known as amyloid-beta peptide, which accumulates in what are called amyloid plaques in brains of people with Alzheimers. The vaccinated mice demonstrated normal learning skills and functioning memory in spite of being genetically designed to develop an aggressive form of the disease.

The Rochester scientists reported the findings in an article in the May issue of Molecular Therapy, the journal of The American Society of Gene Therapy.

Our study demonstrates that we can create a potent but safe version of a vaccine that utilizes the strategy of immune response shaping to prevent Alzheimers-related pathologies and memory deficits, said William Bowers, associate professor of neurology and of microbiology and immunology at the Medical Center and lead author of the article. The vaccinated mice not only performed better, we found no evidence of signature amyloid plaque in their brains.

Alzheimers is a progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with dementia and a decline in performance of normal activities. Hallmarks of the disease include the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brains of patients and the loss of normal functioning tau, a protein that stabilizes the transport networks in neurons. Abnormal tau function eventually leads to another classic hallmark of Alzheimers, neurofibrillary tangle in nerve cells. After several decades of exposure to these insults, neurons ultimately succumb and die, leading to progressively damaged learning and memory centers in the brain.

The mice that received the vaccines were genetically engineered to express large amounts of amyloid beta protein. They also harbored a mutation that causes the tau-related tangle pathology
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Contact: Michael Wentzel
Michael_Wentzel@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-1309
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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