Vaccination With Aß Peptide Prevents the Development of Age-related Memory Deficits in an Animal Model of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Vaccinations with amyloid-β peptide (AB) can dramatically reduce amyloid deposition in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease1. To determine if the vaccinations had deleterious or beneficial functional consequences, we tested eight months of Aβ vaccination in a different transgenic model for Alzheimer's disease in which mice develop learning deficits as amyloid accumulates2,3 . Here we show that vaccination with Aβ protects transgenic mice from the learning and age-related memory deficits that normally occur in this mouse model for Alzheimer's disease. During testing for potential deleterious effects of the vaccine, all mice performed superbly on the radial-arm water-maze test of working memory. Later, at an age when untreated transgenic mice show memory deficits, the Aβ-vaccinated transgenic mice showed cognitive performance superior to that of the control transgenic mice and, ultimately, performed as well as nontransgenic mice. The Aβ-vaccinated mice also had a partial reduction in amyloid burden at the end of the study. This therapeutic approach may thus prevent and, possibly, treat Alzheimer's dementia.

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Nature, v. 408, p. 982-985