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Clin Neuropathol. 2010 Jul-Aug;29(4):209-16.

Cerebral amyloid angiopathy and microhemorrhages after amyloid beta vaccination: case report and brief review.

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Service d'Anatomie Pathologique, CHU Rangueil and Faculté de Médecine Rangueil, France.


After the interruption of the international multicenter Phase 2 clinical trial with active immunotherapy based on synthetic Abeta42 (AN1792), few reports about the neuropathological findings in those patients and those from the Phase 1 clinical trial were published. These reports described some pathological similarities among the patients such as a reduction in the burden of amyloid plaques, the reactions of microglia/macrophages and the persistence of neurofibrillary tangles and neuropil threads. In addition, a lymphocytic inflammatory infiltrate as well as white matter lesions were present in some cases with meningoencephalitis. In both animal models of vaccination, as well as some vaccinated patient samples, there appears to be a correlation between vaccination and hemorrhages. Subsequently, two series reports concerning 8 patients from the Phase 1 initial trial showed that immunization with Abeta42 seemed to result in clearance of amyloid plaques, but did not prevent progressive neurodegeneration and that it increased vessel wall amyloid angiopathy as well as cortical microhemorrhages. Recent clinical data gave further encouraging results regarding vaccination in humans demonstrating that long term follow-up of patients from the second clinical trial revealed reduced functional decline, at least, in antibody responders. Here we describe a patient diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease who also participated in the Phase 2 clinical trial. A neuropathological examination confirmed Alzheimer's disease without meningoencephalitis and revealed a severe amyloid angiopathy with frequent microhemorrhages, the decrease of amyloid load being difficult to ascertain. Our results are in agreement with previous studies and confirm the presence of severe amyloid angiopathy after vaccination. The latter may be a transient phenomenon depending on the degree of immune response and the pathological stage of the disease when the patient underwent treatment. In addition, our vaccinated case also demonstrated microhemorrhages and microinfarcts which were already noticed to occur with a higher density in immunized Alzheimer's disease patients.

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