Brain Injections Lower Alzheimer's Plaques in Mice

The technique avoids inflammation seen in earlier trials

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MONDAY, April 18, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Injections of antibodies greatly reduced levels of beta-amyloid plaque -- considered a key factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease -- in the brains of mice, according to a new study.

The findings "provide strong support for a new approach in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease using a strategy involving injection of antibodies into the brain, without the serious side effects implicated in prior immunization strategies," researcher Dr. Terry Lichtor, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said in a prepared statement.

His team presented the findings Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in New Orleans.

The mice in this study were genetically engineered to develop both early and late-stage Alzheimer's disease, characterized by a build-up of protein plaques in the brain.

A single intraventricular (into the brain's ventricles) injection of antibodies against beta-amyloid reduced the amount of amyloid in mice brains by about 70 percent, even in mice with a fairly severe stage of Alzheimer's, the researchers found.

There was no sign of serious inflammatory problems in the brain, they added. This type of antibody-linked inflammation had occurred in earlier studies, when injections were delivered into the bloodstream outside the brain.

According to the researchers, their results suggest periodic antibody injections may prove an effective means of rapidly reducing pre-existing amyloid plaques and associated inflammation. They hope such a treatment might someday yield a new means of preventing or successfully treating Alzheimer's.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about Alzheimer's disease.

SOURCE: American Association of Neurological Surgeons, news release, April 18, 2005

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