Selective neutralization of APP-C99 with monoclonal antibodies reduces the production of Alzheimer's Aβ peptides
The toxic amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides involved in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are produced after processing of the amyloid precursor protein-C-terminal fragment APP-C99 by γ-secretase. Thus, major therapeutic efforts have been focused on inhibiting the activity of this enzyme. However, preclinical and clinical trials testing γ-secretase inhibitors revealed adverse side effects most likely attributed to impaired processing of the Notch-1 receptor, a γ-secretase substrate critically involved in cell fate decisions. Here we report an innovative approach to selectively target the γ-secretase-mediated processing of APP-C99 with monoclonal antibodies neutralizing this substrate. Generated by immunizing mice with natively folded APP-C99, these antibodies bound N- or C-terminal accessible epitopes of this substrate, and decorated extracellular amyloid deposits in AD brain tissues. In cell-based assays, the same antibodies impaired APP-C99 processing by γ-secretase, and reduced Aβ production. Furthermore, they significantly decreased brain Aβ levels in the APPPS1 mouse model of AD after intracerebroventricular injection. Together, our findings support APP-C99 substrate-targeting antibodies as new immunotherapeutic and Notch-sparing agents to lower the levels of Aβ peptides implicated in AD.