Immunotherapeutic Approaches Targeting Amyloid-β, α-Synuclein, and Tau for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Neurotherapeutics. 2016 Jan;13(1):179-89. doi: 10.1007/s13311-015-0397-z.


Disease-modifying alternatives are sorely needed for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, a group of diseases that afflict approximately 50 million Americans annually. Immunotherapy is one of the most developed approaches in this direction. Vaccination against amyloid-β, α-synuclein, or tau has been extensively explored, specially as the discovery that these proteins may propagate cell-to-cell and be accessible to antibodies when embedded into the plasma membrane or in the extracellular space. Likewise, the use of passive immunization approaches with specific antibodies against abnormal conformations of these proteins has also yielded promising results. The clinical development of immunotherapies for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and other neurodegenerative disorders is a field in constant evolution. Results to date suggest that immunotherapy is a promising therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative diseases that progress with the accumulation and prion-like propagation of toxic protein aggregates. Here we provide an overview of the most novel and relevant immunotherapeutic advances targeting amyloid-β in Alzheimer’s disease, α-synuclein in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and tau in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / drug effects
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / immunology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / immunology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy
  • alpha-Synuclein / drug effects
  • alpha-Synuclein / immunology*
  • tau Proteins / drug effects
  • tau Proteins / immunology*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • tau Proteins