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Neurobiol Dis. 2006 Sep;23(3):717-24. Epub 2006 Jul 28.

Pathologic prion protein is specifically recognized in situ by a novel PrP conformational antibody.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Sezione di Clinica Medica, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Polo Didattico, Via Tronto 10, 60020 Ancona, Italy.


Prion diseases are characterized by the accumulation in the brain of abnormal conformers (PrP(Sc)) of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C)). PrP(Sc) immunohistochemistry, currently based on antibodies non-distinguishing between PrP(C) and PrP(Sc), requires pre-treatments of histological sections to eliminate PrP(C) and to denature PrP(Sc). We employed the PrP(Sc)-specific antibody 89-112 PrP motif-grafted IgG on mildly fixed, untreated brain sections from several cases of human prion diseases. The results confirmed specific binding of IgG 89-112 to a structural determinant found exclusively on native disease-associated PrP conformations and lost following tissue denaturation or cross-linking fixation. Importantly, IgG 89-112 demonstrated no reactivity with normal brain tissue or with amyloid deposits in Alzheimer disease brain sections. Thus, immunohistochemical detection of native PrP(Sc) deposits was obtained by means of a PrP(Sc)-specific antibody. Such unique reagent may have many applications in the study of prion biology and in the diagnosis and prevention of prion diseases.

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