A beta peptide vaccination prevents memory loss in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease

Nature. 2000 Dec;408(6815):982-5. doi: 10.1038/35050116.


Vaccinations with amyloid-beta peptide (A beta) can dramatically reduce amyloid deposition in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. To determine if the vaccinations had deleterious or beneficial functional consequences, we tested eight months of A beta vaccination in a different transgenic model for Alzheimer's disease in which mice develop learning deficits as amyloid accumulates. Here we show that vaccination with A beta protects transgenic mice from the learning and age-related memory deficits that normally occur in this mouse model for Alzheimer's disease. During testing for potential deleterious effects of the vaccine, all mice performed superbly on the radial-arm water-maze test of working memory. Later, at an age when untreated transgenic mice show memory deficits, the A beta-vaccinated transgenic mice showed cognitive performance superior to that of the control transgenic mice and, ultimately, performed as well as nontransgenic mice. The A beta-vaccinated mice also had a partial reduction in amyloid burden at the end of the study. This therapeutic approach may thus prevent and, possibly, treat Alzheimer's dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / analysis
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Memory Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Peptide Fragments / administration & dosage*
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology
  • Vaccination*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antibodies
  • Peptide Fragments
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)