Aβ42 oligomer-specific antibody ALZ-201 reduces the neurotoxicity of Alzheimer's disease brain extracts

Anders Sandberg, Ernesto Berenjeno-Correa, Rosa Crespo Rodriguez, Michael Axenhus, Sophia Schedin Weiss, Kevin Batenburg, Jeroen J M Hoozemans, Lars O Tjernberg, Wiep Scheper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: In Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyloid-β 1-42 (Aβ42) neurotoxicity stems mostly from its soluble oligomeric aggregates. Studies of such aggregates have been hampered by the lack of oligomer-specific research tools and their intrinsic instability and heterogeneity. Here, we developed a monoclonal antibody with a unique oligomer-specific binding profile (ALZ-201) using oligomer-stabilising technology. Subsequently, we assessed the etiological relevance of the Aβ targeted by ALZ-201 on physiologically derived, toxic Aβ using extracts from post-mortem brains of AD patients and controls in primary mouse neuron cultures.

METHODS: Mice were immunised with stable oligomers derived from the Aβ42 peptide with A21C/A30C mutations (AβCC), and ALZ-201 was developed using hybridoma technology. Specificity for the oligomeric form of the Aβ42CC antigen and Aβ42 was confirmed using ELISA, and non-reactivity against plaques by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The antibody's potential for cross-protective activity against pathological Aβ was evaluated in brain tissue samples from 10 individuals confirmed as AD (n=7) and non-AD (n=3) with IHC staining for Aβ and phosphorylated tau (p-Tau) aggregates. Brain extracts were prepared and immunodepleted using the positive control 4G8 antibody, ALZ-201 or an isotype control to ALZ-201. Fractions were biochemically characterised, and toxicity assays were performed in primary mouse neuronal cultures using automated high-content microscopy.

RESULTS: AD brain extracts proved to be more toxic than controls as demonstrated by neuronal loss and morphological determinants (e.g. synapse density and measures of neurite complexity). Immunodepletion using 4G8 reduced Aβ levels in both AD and control samples compared to ALZ-201 or the isotype control, which showed no significant difference. Importantly, despite the differential effect on the total Aβ content, the neuroprotective effects of 4G8 and ALZ-201 immunodepletion were similar, whereas the isotype control showed no effect.

CONCLUSIONS: ALZ-201 depletes a toxic species in post-mortem AD brain extracts causing a positive physiological and protective impact on the integrity and morphology of mouse neurons. Its unique specificity indicates that a low-abundant, soluble Aβ42 oligomer may account for much of the neurotoxicity in AD. This critical attribute identifies the potential of ALZ-201 as a novel drug candidate for achieving a true, clinical therapeutic effect in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number196
Pages (from-to)196
JournalAlzheimer's Research & Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2022


  • ALZ-201
  • Alzheimer Disease/genetics
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use
  • Aβ42 neurotoxicity
  • Aβ42 oligomers
  • Aβ42-oligomer-specific antibody
  • AβCC peptide™ technology
  • Brain/metabolism
  • Mice
  • Peptide Fragments/metabolism

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