Abnormal tau hyperphosphorylation and its aggregation into neurofibrillary tangles are a hallmark of tauopathies, neurodegenerative disorders that include Alzheimer's disease (AD). Active and passive Tau-immunotherapy has been proposed as a therapeutic approach to AD with mixed results. One of the limitations of active immunotherapy may be associated with the mediocre immunogenicity of vaccines that are not inducing therapeutically potent titers of antibodies. The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of an anti-tau vaccine, AV-1980R/A composed of N terminal peptide of this molecule fused with an immunogenic MultiTEP platform and formulated in a strong adjuvant, AdvaxCpG in a Tg4510 mouse model of tauopathy. Experimental mice were immunized with AV-1980R/A and a control group of mice were injected with adjuvant only. Nontransgenic and tetracycline transactivator (tTA) transgenic littermates were included as baseline controls to contrast with the tau phenotype. Active immunization with AV-1980R/A induced very strong anti-tau humoral immune responses in both nontransgenic and transgenic mice with evidence of IgG in brains of AV-1980R/A vaccinated mice. These experimental animals displayed an improvement in short-term memory during a novel object recognition test. However, impairments in other behavioral tasks were not prevented by AV-1980R/A vaccinations. At the same time, high titers of anti-tau antibodies reduced hyperphosphorylated pSer396 tau but did not lower the level of other phosphorylated tau species in the brains of AV-1980R/A vaccinated mice. These data indicate that active immunotherapy with an N-terminal Tau epitope was only partially effective in improving cognition and reducing pathology in the stringent Tg4510 mouse model of tauopathy.
- active immunotherapy
- anti-tau vaccine