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Prion diseases: immunotargets and therapy

Authors Burchell JT, Panegyres PK

Received 8 December 2015

Accepted for publication 8 March 2016

Published 16 June 2016 Volume 2016:5 Pages 57—68

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/ITT.S64795

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Federico Perche

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Michael Shurin

Video abstract presented by Peter K Panegyres

Views: 222

Jennifer T Burchell, Peter K Panegyres

Neurodegenerative Disorders Research Pty Ltd, West Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Abstract: Transmissible spongiform encephathalopathies or prion diseases are a group of neurological disorders characterized by neuronal loss, spongiform degeneration, and activation of astrocytes or microglia. These diseases affect humans and animals with an extremely high prevalence in some species such as deer and elk in North America. Although rare in humans, they result in a devastatingly swift neurological progression with dementia and ataxia. Patients usually die within a year of diagnosis. Prion diseases are familial, sporadic, iatrogenic, or transmissible. Human prion diseases include Kuru, sporadic, iatrogenic, and familial forms of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker disease, and fatal familial insomnia. The causative agent is a misfolded version of the physiological prion protein called PrPSc in the brain. There are a number of therapeutic options currently under investigation. A number of small molecules have had some success in delaying disease progression in animal models and mixed results in clinical trials, including pentosan polysulfate, quinacrine, and amphotericin B. More promisingly, immunotherapy has reported success in vitro and in vivo in animal studies and clinical trials. The three main branches of immunotherapy research are focus on antibody vaccines, dendritic cell vaccines, and adoptive transfer of physiological prion protein-specific CD4+ T-lymphocytes. Vaccines utilizing antibodies generally target disease-specific epitopes that are only exposed in the misfolded PrPSc conformation. Vaccines utilizing antigen-loaded dendritic cell have the ability to bypass immune tolerance and prime CD4+ cells to initiate an immune response. Adoptive transfer of CD4+ T-cells is another promising target as this cell type can orchestrate the adaptive immune response. Although more research into mechanisms and safety is required, these immunotherapies offer novel therapeutic targets for prion diseases.

Keywords: neurodegeneration, immunization, spongiform encephalopathies, PrPC, PrPSc, tansmissible spongiform encephalopathies Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, dendritice cells, Alzheimer disease

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