To characterize antibodies produced in humans in response to Abeta42 vaccination, we carried out immunohistochemical examinations of the brains of both transgenic mice and human patients with beta-amyloid pathology. We collected sera from patients with Alzheimer disease who received a primary injection of pre-aggregated Abeta42 followed by one booster injection in a placebo-controlled study. Antibodies in immune sera recognized beta-amyloid plaques, diffuse Abeta deposits and vascular beta-amyloid in brain blood vessels. The antibodies did not cross-react with native full-length beta-amyloid precursor protein or its physiological derivatives, including soluble Abeta42. These findings indicate that vaccination of AD patients with Abeta42 induces antibodies that have a high degree of selectivity for the pathogenic target structures. Whether vaccination to produce antibodies against beta-amyloid will halt the cognitive decline in AD will depend upon clinical assessments over time.