Identification of aldolase as a target antigen in Alzheimer's disease

Felix Mor*, Marina Izak, Irun R. Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common human neurodegenerative disease, leading to progressive cognitive decline and eventually death. The prevailing paradigm on the pathogenesis of AD is that abnormally folded proteins accumulate in specific brain areas and lead to neuronal loss via apoptosis. In recent years it has become evident that an inflammatory and possibly autoimmune component exists in AD. Moreover, recent data demonstrate that immunization with amyloid-β peptide is therapeutically effective in AD. The nature of CNS Ags that are the target of immune attack in AD is unknown. To identify potential autoantigens in AD, we tested sera IgG Abs of AD patients in immunoblots against brain and other tissue lysates. We identified a 42-kDa band in brain lysates that was detected with >50% of 45 AD sera. The band was identified by mass spectrometry to be aldolase A. Western blotting with aldolase using patient sera demonstrated a band of identical size. The Ab reactivity was verified with ELISAs using aldolase. One of 25 elderly control patients and 3 of 30 multiple sclerosis patients showed similar reactivity (p < 0.002). In enzymatic assays, anti-aldolase positive sera were found to inhibit the enzyme's activity, and the presence of the substrate (fructose 1,6-diphosphate) enhanced Ab binding. Immunization of rats and mice with aldolase in complete Freund's adjuvant was not pathogenic. These findings reveal an autoimmune component in AD, point at aldolase as a common autoantigen in this disease, and suggest a new target for potential immune modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3439-3445
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


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