Reversing cognitive deficits: Injectable antibody may attack source of problem

Oct 08, 2007

A special protein can be injected into the body to reverse learning problems in mice that have an animal version of Alzheimer’s disease, Saint Louis University researchers have found.

The protein -- part of the immunoglobulin M (IgM) class -- is an antibody that grabs onto the amyloid beta protein in the brain and prevents it from changing into the toxic substance believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our research in an animal model showed that antibodies can be developed rationally for treating Alzheimer’s disease,” says William A. Banks, M.D. professor of geriatrics and pharmacological and physiological science at Saint Louis University. “It’s a major thing that people have been trying to do -- get antibodies into the brain in the right amount to treat illnesses. This antibody does that.”

Banks says the findings are surprising because IgM is five times bigger than the antibody immunoglobulin G (IgG), which has already been studied as a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.

Because it is larger, scientists didn’t believe it could cross the blood- brain barrier, a protective membrane that keeps foreign substances out of the brain.

“We collaborated with Michael Steinitz from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who developed an antibody that is part of the IgM class of antibodies that would stick better to amyloid beta protein,” says Banks, who also is a staff physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis Banks says.

“This compound had better entry to the brain than IgG, even though they are smaller.”

A single intravenous dose of IgM reversed cognitive impairment in aged mice that have a genetic mutation that causes deficits similar to those found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Banks says.

The findings were published in the August issue of Experimental Neurology.

Source: Saint Louis University

Explore further: US scientists make embryonic stem cells from adult skin

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

Apr 17, 2014

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...