Effect of intraventricular infusion of anti-prion protein monoclonal antibodies on disease progression in prion-infected mice

J Gen Virol. 2008 Jun;89(Pt 6):1533-1544. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.83578-0.


It is well known that anti-prion protein (PrP) monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) inhibit abnormal isoform PrP (PrPSc) formation in cell culture. Additionally, passive immunization of anti-PrP mAbs protects the animals from prion infection via peripheral challenge when mAbs are administered simultaneously or soon after prion inoculation. Thus, anti-PrP mAbs are candidates for the treatment of prion diseases. However, the effects of mAbs on disease progression in the middle and late stages of the disease remain unclear. This study carried out intraventricular infusion of mAbs into prion-infected mice before and after clinical onset to assess their ability to delay disease progression. A 4-week infusion of anti-PrP mAbs initiated at 120 days post-inoculation (p.i.), which is just after clinical onset, reduced PrPSc levels to 70-80 % of those found in mice treated with a negative-control mAb. Spongiform changes, microglial activation and astrogliosis in the hippocampus and thalamus appeared milder in mice treated with anti-PrP mAbs than in those treated with a negative-control mAb. Treatment with anti-PrP mAb prolonged the survival of mice infected with Chandler or Obihiro strain when infusion was initiated at 60 days p.i., at which point PrPSc is detectable in the brain. In contrast, infusion initiated after clinical onset prolonged the survival time by about 8 % only in mice infected with the Chandler strain. Although the effects on survival varied for different prion strains, the anti-PrP mAb could partly prevent disease progression, even after clinical onset, suggesting immunotherapy as a candidate for treatment of prion diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Gliosis / drug therapy
  • Gliosis / pathology
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Microglia / pathology
  • PrPSc Proteins / metabolism
  • Prions / immunology*
  • Scrapie / metabolism
  • Scrapie / pathology
  • Scrapie / therapy*
  • Thalamus / pathology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • PrPSc Proteins
  • Prions