Immunization delays the onset of prion disease in mice

Am J Pathol. 2002 Jul;161(1):13-7. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)64151-X.


The outbreak of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has raised the specter of a potentially large population being at risk to develop this prionosis. None of the prionoses currently have an effective treatment. Recently, vaccination has been shown to be effective in mouse models of another neurodegenerative condition, namely Alzheimer's disease. Here we report that vaccination with recombinant mouse prion protein delays the onset of prion disease in mice. Vaccination was performed both before peripheral prion exposure and after exposure. A delay in disease onset was seen in both groups, but was more prolonged in animals immunized before exposure. The increase in the incubation period closely correlated with the anti-prion protein antibody titer. This promising finding suggests that a similar approach may work in humans or other mammalian species at risk for prion disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology
  • Female
  • Immunization*
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Prion Diseases / pathology
  • Prion Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Prion Diseases / therapy*
  • Prions / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Time Factors


  • Prions
  • Recombinant Proteins