Background: Recent studies have implicated specific assembly subtypes of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide, specifically soluble oligomers (soAβ) as disease-relevant structures that may underlie memory loss in Alzheimer disease. Removing existing soluble and insoluble Aβ assemblies is thought to be essential for any attempt at stabilizing brain function and slowing cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease. IV immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapies have been shown to contain naturally occurring polyclonal antibodies that recognize conformational neoepitopes of soluble or insoluble Aβ assemblies including soAβ. These naturally occurring polyclonal antibodies have been suggested to underlie the apparent clinical benefits of IVIg. However, direct evidence linking anti-Aβ antibodies to the clinical bioactivity of IVIg has been lacking.
Methods: Five-month-old female Dutch APP E693Q mice were treated for 3 months with neat IVIg or with IVIg that had been affinity-depleted over immobilized Aβ conformers in 1 of 2 assembly states. Memory was assessed in a battery of tests followed by quantification of brain soAβ levels using standard anti-soAβ antibodies.
Results: We provide evidence that NU4-type soAβ (NU4-soAβ) assemblies accumulate in the brains of Dutch APP E693Q mice and are associated with defects in memory, even in the absence of insoluble Aβ plaques. Memory benefits were associated with depletion from APP E693Q mouse brain of NU4-soAβ and A11-soAβ but not OC-type fibrillar Aβ oligomers.
Conclusions: We propose that targeting of specific soAβ assembly subtypes may be an important consideration in the therapeutic and/or prophylactic benefit of anti-Aβ antibody drugs.