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N Engl J Med. 2003 Nov 6;349(19):1812-20.

Extraneural pathologic prion protein in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuropathology and National Reference Center for Prion Diseases, University Hospital of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, pathologic disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) has been identified only in the central nervous system and olfactory-nerve tissue. Understanding the distribution of PrPSc in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is important for classification and diagnosis and perhaps even for prevention.

METHODS:

We used a highly sensitive method of detection--involving the concentration of PrPSc by differential precipitation with sodium phosphotungstic acid, which increased the sensitivity of Western blot analysis by up to three orders of magnitude--to search for PrPSc in extraneural organs of 36 patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease who died between 1996 and 2002.

RESULTS:

PrPSc was present in the brain tissue of all patients. In addition, we found PrPSc in 10 of 28 spleen specimens and in 8 of 32 skeletal-muscle samples. Three patients had PrPSc in both spleen and muscle specimens. Patients with extraneural PrPSc had a significantly longer duration of disease and were more likely to have uncommon molecular variants of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease than were patients without extraneural PrPSc.

CONCLUSIONS:

Using sensitive techniques, we identified extraneural deposition of PrPSc in spleen and muscle samples from approximately one third of patients who died with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Extraneural PrPSc appears to correlate with a long duration of disease.

Comment in

PMID:
14602879
DOI:
10.1056/NEJMoa030351
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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