Journal of neuroinflammation

An N-terminal antibody promotes the transformation of amyloid fibrils into oligomers and enhances the neurotoxicity of amyloid-beta: the dust-raising effect.

PMID 26311039


Senile plaques consisting of amyloid-beta (Aβ) are the major pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and have been the primary therapeutic target. Immunotherapies, which are designed to remove brain Aβ deposits, increased levels of soluble Aβ and accelerated brain atrophy in some clinical trials, suggesting that the solubilization of Aβ deposition might facilitate the formation of more toxic Aβ oligomers and enhance neurotoxicity. The capacity of antibodies against different epitopes of Aβ to disaggregate preformed Aβ fibrils was investigated. The co-incubation of antibodies and Aβ fibrils was then tested for neurotoxicity both in vitro and in vivo. After the incubation of preformed Aβ fibrils with the N-terminal antibody 6E10, the fibrils were decreased, while the oligomers, mostly dimers and trimers, were significantly increased. However, no such effects were observed for antibodies targeting the middle domain (4G8) and C-terminus of Aβ (8G7). The co-incubates of preformed Aβ fibrils with 6E10 were more neurotoxic, both in vitro and in vivo, than the co-incubates with 4G8 and 8G7. Our results indicate that the antibody targeting the N-terminus of Aβ promoted the transformation of Aβ from fibrils into oligomers and increased neurotoxicity. Immunotherapies should take into consideration the enhanced neurotoxicity associated with the solubilization of Aβ deposits by antibodies against the Nterminus of Aβ.