Anti-Aβ Antibodies and Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy Complications

Front Immunol. 2019 Jul 4;10:1534. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01534. eCollection 2019.


Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) corresponds to the deposition of amyloid material in the cerebral vasculature, leading to structural modifications of blood vessel walls. The most frequent form of sporadic CAA involves fibrillar β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) deposits, mainly the 40 amino acid form (Aβ1-40), which are commonly found in the elderly with or without Alzheimer's disease. Sporadic CAA usually remains clinically silent. However, in some cases, acute complications either hemorrhagic or inflammatory can occur. Similar complications occurred after active or passive immunization against Aβ in experimental animal models exhibiting CAA, and in subjects with Alzheimer's disease during clinical trials. The triggering of these adverse events by active immunization and monoclonal antibody administration in CAA-bearing individuals suggests that analogous mechanisms could be involved during spontaneous CAA complications, drawing particular attention to the role of anti-Aβ antibodies. However, antibodies that react with several monomeric and aggregated forms of Aβ spontaneously occur in virtually all human individuals, hence being part of the "natural antibody" repertoire. Natural antibodies are usually described as having low-affinity and high cross-reactivity toward microbial components and autoantigens. Although frequently of the IgM class, they also belong to IgG and IgA isotypes. They likely display homeostatic functions and protective roles in aging. Until recently, the peculiar properties of these natural antibodies have hindered proper analysis of the Aβ-reactive antibody repertoire and the study of their implication in CAA complications. Herein, we review and comment the evidences of an auto-immune nature of spontaneous CAA complications, and discuss implications for forthcoming research and clinical practice.

Keywords: anti-Aβ antibodies; autoimmunity; cerebral amyloid angiopathy; immunotherapy; natural antibodies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease* / immunology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / therapeutic use
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / drug therapy
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / immunology
  • Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive*
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Peptide Fragments
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-40)