Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Gary Arendash, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Huntington Potter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

My Lien Dao, Ph.D.


Immunotherapy, T cell, Behavior, Transgenic mouse, Neurodegenerative diseases


One major therapeutic target for preventing and treating Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is removal of excess β-amyloid (Aβ) from the brain. Both active and passive immunotherapies targeting Aβ have proven effective in reducing brain Aβ levels and improving cognitive function in mouse transgenic models of AD. However, these approaches can induce adverse neuropathologic effects and immunologic over-activation. Indeed, clinical trials of active Aβ immunotherapy in AD patients were halted due to development of meningoencephalitis, apparently resulting from wide-spread neuroinflammation. Here we show that a more restricted and specific immune re-activation through a single adoptive transfer of Aβ-specific T cells can provide long-term benefits to APPsw+PS1 transgenic mice that last at least 1 1/2 months. Aβ-sensitive splenocytes and lymphocytes were generated in normal mice, re-stimulated with Aβ in vitro, and then adoptively transferred into cognitively-impaired APPsw+PS1 mice. Compared to control transgenic mice through 1 1/2 month post-infusion, those mice that received Aβ-sensitive T cells exhibited a reversal of pre-infusion working memory impairment and demonstrated superior basic mnemonic processing. Step-wise forward Discriminant Function Analysis of behavioral results clearly demonstrated that T cell infused mice performed comparably to wild-type non-transgenics, further emphasizing the extent of cognitive benefit this therapeutic technique afforded. Importantly, a global inflammatory response did not accompany these benefits. Though no overall reductions in Aβ deposition were noted for T cell recipient mice, a subset of T cell infused mice that benefited most in cognitive function had reduced hippocampal burdens, suggesting that hippocampal Aβ burdes did play a role in determining performance capabilities of these mice. Since chronically high levels of beta-amy

loid such as those found in APPsw+PS1 mice cause immune hypo-responsive/tolerance to Aβ, our results indicate that adoptive transfer of Aβ-sensitive T-cells can supercede such immune tolerance to Aβ, and may provide a safe, long-lasting therapy for AD.