Passive Immunization in Alpha-Synuclein Preclinical Animal Models

Jonas Folke, Nelson Ferreira, Tomasz Brudek, Per Borghammer, Nathalie Van Den Berge


Alpha-synucleinopathies include Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, pure autonomic failure and multiple system atrophy. These are all progressive neurodegenerative diseases that are characterized by pathological misfolding and accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein (αsyn) in neurons, axons or glial cells in the brain, but also in other organs. The abnormal accumulation and propagation of pathogenic αsyn across the autonomic connectome is associated with progressive loss of neurons in the brain and peripheral organs, resulting in motor and non-motor symptoms. To date, no cure is available for synucleinopathies, and therapy is limited to symptomatic treatment of motor and non-motor symptoms upon diagnosis. Recent advances using passive immunization that target different αsyn structures show great potential to block disease progression in rodent studies of synucleinopathies. However, passive immunotherapy in clinical trials has been proven safe but less effective than in preclinical conditions. Here we review current achievements of passive immunotherapy in animal models of synucleinopathies. Furthermore, we propose new research strategies to increase translational outcome in patient studies, (1) by using antibodies against immature conformations of pathogenic αsyn (monomers, post-translationally modified monomers, oligomers and protofibrils) and (2) by focusing treatment on body-first synucleinopathies where damage in the brain is still limited and effective immunization could potentially stop disease progression by blocking the spread of pathogenic αsyn from peripheral organs to the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number168
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2022


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