Several lines of evidence suggest that immunisations may be helpful in the prophylaxis and treatment of neurodegenerative amyloidoses like Alzheimer's disease and prion infections. We used a synthetic prion protein-derived peptide (PrP105-125) and a recombinant PrP fragment (PrP90-230) as antigens for the active immunisation of mice, which were subsequently infected by dietary exposure to the scrapie agent. Immunisation with PrP105-125 prolonged the survival times significantly. In contrast, immunisation with PrP90-230 or adjuvants alone had no effect on the disease development. An epitope mapping of the antibodies raised against PrP90-230 revealed that reactivities against previously defined protective epitopes were either underrepresented or absent. These results point towards the possibility to prevent prion spread via the food chain by vaccinating humans or other species at risk to contract prion diseases.