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PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e60376. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060376. Epub 2013 Apr 2.

Age at Death of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in subsequent family generation carrying the E200K mutation of the prion protein gene.

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Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.



The E200K mutation of the prion protein gene (PRNP) is the most frequent amino acid substitution in genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and is the only one responsible for the appearance of clustered cases in the world. In the Israel and Slovakian clusters, age of disease onset was reduced in successive generations but the absence of a clear molecular basis raised the possibility that this event was an observational bias. The aim of the present study was to investigate possible selection biases or confounding factors related to anticipation in E200K CJD patients belonging to a cluster in Southern Italy.


Clinical and demographical data of 41 parent-offspring pairs from 19 pedigrees of the Italian cluster of E200K patients were collected. Age at death of parents was compared with age at death of E200K CJD offspring. Subgroup analyses were performed for controlling possible selection biases, confounding factors, or both.


The mean age at death/last follow-up of the parent generation was 71.4 years while that of CJD offspring was 59.3 years with an estimated anticipation of 12.1 years. When the same analysis was performed including only parents with CJD or carrying the E200K mutation (n = 26), the difference between offspring and parents increased to 14.8 years.


These results show that early age at death occurs in offspring of families carrying the E200K PRNP mutation and that this event is not linked to observational biases. Although molecular or environmental bases for this occurrence remain unsettled, this information is important for improving the accuracy of information to give to mutated carriers.

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