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Neuron. 2005 Jun 16;46(6):857-68.

Effects of alpha-synuclein immunization in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


Abnormal folding of alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) is thought to lead to neurodegeneration and the characteristic symptoms of Lewy body disease (LBD). Since previous studies suggest that immunization might be a potential therapy for Alzheimer's disease, we hypothesized that immunization with human (h)alpha-syn might have therapeutic effects in LBD. For this purpose, halpha-syn transgenic (tg) mice were vaccinated with halpha-syn. In mice that produced high relative affinity antibodies, there was decreased accumulation of aggregated halpha-syn in neuronal cell bodies and synapses that was associated with reduced neurodegeneration. Furthermore, antibodies produced by immunized mice recognized abnormal halpha-syn associated with the neuronal membrane and promoted the degradation of halpha-syn aggregates, probably via lysosomal pathways. Similar effects were observed with an exogenously applied FITC-tagged halpha-syn antibody. These results suggest that vaccination is effective in reducing neuronal accumulation of halpha-syn aggregates and that further development of this approach might have a potential role in the treatment of LBD.

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