Clinically approved IVIg delivered to the hippocampus with focused ultrasound promotes neurogenesis in a model of Alzheimer's disease

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Dec 22;117(51):32691-32700. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1908658117. Epub 2020 Dec 7.


Preclinical and clinical data support the use of focused ultrasound (FUS), in the presence of intravenously injected microbubbles, to safely and transiently increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). FUS-induced BBB permeability has been shown to enhance the bioavailability of administered intravenous therapeutics to the brain. Ideal therapeutics candidates for this mode of delivery are those capable of inducing benefits peripherally following intravenous injection and in the brain at FUS-targeted areas. In Alzheimer's disease, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), a fractionated human blood product containing polyclonal antibodies, act as immunomodulator peripherally and centrally, and it can reduce amyloid pathology in the brain. Using the TgCRND8 mouse model of amyloidosis, we tested whether FUS can improve the delivery of IVIg, administered intravenously (0.4 g/kg), to the hippocampus and reach an effective dose to reduce amyloid plaque pathology and promote neurogenesis. Our results show that FUS-induced BBB permeability is required to deliver a significant amount of IVIg (489 ng/mg) to the targeted hippocampus of TgCRN8 mice. Two IVIg-FUS treatments, administered at days 1 and 8, significantly increased hippocampal neurogenesis by 4-, 3-, and 1.5-fold in comparison to saline, IVIg alone, and FUS alone, respectively. Amyloid plaque pathology was significantly reduced in all treatment groups: IVIg alone, FUS alone, and IVIg-FUS. Putative factors promoting neurogenesis in response to IVIg-FUS include the down-regulation of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α in the hippocampus. In summary, FUS was required to deliver an effective dose of IVIg to promote hippocampal neurogenesis and modulate the inflammatory milieu.

Keywords: MRI-guided focused ultrasound; blood–brain barrier; immunotherapy; intravenous immunoglobulin; neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Agents / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / pharmacokinetics
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / pharmacology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microbubbles
  • Neurogenesis / drug effects
  • Neurogenesis / physiology
  • Plaque, Amyloid / drug therapy
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Ultrasonics / methods*


  • Central Nervous System Agents
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha