Tau-targeting passive immunization modulates aspects of pathology in tau transgenic mice

Arne Ittner*, Josefine Bertz, Lisa S. Suh, Claire H. Stevens, Jürgen Götz, Lars M. Ittner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Immunization is increasingly recognized as a suitable therapeutic avenue for the treatment of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. Tau is a key molecular player in these conditions and therefore represents an attractive target for passive immunization approaches. We performed such an approach in two independent tau transgenic mouse models of tauopathy, K369I tau transgenic K3 and P301L tau transgenic pR5 mice. The antibodies we used were either specific for full-length tau or tau phosphorylated at serine 404 (pS404), a residue that forms part of the paired helical filament (PHF)-1 phosphoepitope that characterizes tau neurofibrillary tangles in tauopathies. Although both pS404 antibodies had a similar affinity, they differed in isotype, and only passive immunization with the IgG2a/κ pS404-specific antibody resulted in a lower tangle burden and reduced phosphorylation of tau at the PHF1 epitope in K3 mice. In pR5 mice, the same antibody led to a reduced phosphorylation of the pS422 and PHF1 epitopes of tau. In addition, histological sections of the hippocampal dentate gyrus of the immunized pR5 mice displayed reduced pS422 staining intensities. These results show that passive immunization targeting tau can modulate aspects of tau pathology in tau transgenic mouse models, in an antibody isotype-specific manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • passive immunization
  • phosphorylation
  • tau
  • tauopathy


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