Single-chain fragment variable passive immunotherapies for neurodegenerative diseases

Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Sep 17;14(9):19109-27. doi: 10.3390/ijms140919109.


Accumulation of misfolded proteins has been implicated in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases including prion diseases, Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and Huntington's disease (HD). In the past decade, single-chain fragment variable (scFv) -based immunotherapies have been developed to target abnormal proteins or various forms of protein aggregates including Aβ, SNCA, Htt, and PrP proteins. The scFvs are produced by fusing the variable regions of the antibody heavy and light chains, creating a much smaller protein with unaltered specificity. Because of its small size and relative ease of production, scFvs are promising diagnostic and therapeutic reagents for protein misfolded diseases. Studies have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of scFvs in preventing amyloid protein aggregation in preclinical models. Herein, we discuss recent developments of these immunotherapeutics. We review efforts of our group and others using scFv in neurodegenerative disease models. We illustrate the advantages of scFvs, including engineering to enhance misfolded conformer specificity and subcellular targeting to optimize therapeutic action.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / immunology
  • Humans
  • Huntingtin Protein
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / immunology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy*
  • Prions / immunology
  • Single-Chain Antibodies / immunology
  • Single-Chain Antibodies / therapeutic use*
  • alpha-Synuclein / immunology


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • HTT protein, human
  • Huntingtin Protein
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Prions
  • SNCA protein, human
  • Single-Chain Antibodies
  • alpha-Synuclein