The definitive diagnosis of genetic prion diseases (gPrD) requires pathological confirmation. To date, diagnosis has relied upon the finding of the biomarkers 14-3-3 protein and total tau (t-tau) protein in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), but many researchers have reported that these markers are not sufficiently elevated in gPrD, especially in Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS). We recently developed a new in vitro amplification technology, designated “real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QUIC)”, to detect the abnormal form of prion protein in CSF from sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) patients. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the presence of biomarkers and evaluate RT-QUIC assay in patients with gPrD, as the utility of RT-QUIC as a diagnostic tool in gPrD has yet to be determined.
56 CSF samples were obtained from gPrD patients, including 20 cases of GSS with P102L mutation, 12 cases of fatal familial insomnia (FFI; D178N), and 24 cases of genetic CJD (gCJD), comprising 22 cases with E200K mutation and 2 with V203I mutation. We subjected all CSF samples to RT-QUIC assay, analyzed 14-3-3 protein by Western blotting, and measured t-tau protein using an ELISA kit. The detection sensitivities of RT-QUIC were as follows: GSS (78%), FFI (100%), gCJD E200K (87%), and gCJD V203I (100%). On the other hand the detection sensitivities of biomarkers were considerably lower: GSS (11%), FFI (0%), gCJD E200K (73%), and gCJD V203I (67%). Thus, RT-QUIC had a much higher detection sensitivity compared with testing for biomarkers, especially in patients with GSS and FFI.
RT-QUIC assay is more sensitive than testing for biomarkers in gPrD patients. RT-QUIC method would thus be useful as a diagnostic tool when the patient or the patient's family does not agree to genetic testing, or to confirm the diagnosis in the presence of a positive result for genetic testing.
detection of the protein 14-3-3 in the CSF has been shown to be a
reliable and sensitive marker for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
(CJD). Other brain-specific proteins such as neuron specific enolase
(NSE), S-100b, and tau protein have also been reported to be increased
in the CSF of patients with sporadic CJD. In 1996a variant of CJD
(vCJD) was described which is likely to be causally linked to the
bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent. This study reports and compares
the findings of CSF brain specific protein analysis in 45 patients with
vCJD and in 34 control patients.
METHODS—The CSF from
45 patients with vCJD and 34 controls were investigated for the
presence of 14-3-3 by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis
(SDS-PAGE) and western blotting with chemiluminescent detection. Tau
protein, S-100b, and NSE concentrations in CSF were measured using
14-3-3 was detected in the CSF of 22/45 patients with vCJD and in
3/34 controls. The mean concentrations of NSE, S-100b, and tau protein
in CSF were significantly raised in patients with vCJD compared with
controls. The positive predictive value of CSF 14-3-3 was 86% and
the negative predictive value was 63%. These values are lower than
those reported for sporadic CJD. An increased CSF tau had a positive
predictive value of 93% and a negative predictive value of 81%. The
combination of CSF 14-3-3 and/or increased CSF tau had a positive
predictive value of 91% and a negative predictive value of 84%.
protein 14-3-3 is not as useful a marker for vCJD as it is for
sporadic CJD. Increased concentration of CSF tau was found to be a
sensitive marker of vCJD but as concentrations may be increased in many
forms of non-CJD dementia, this may limit its usefulness as a
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), a group of neurodegenerative diseases, are thought to be caused by an abnormal isoform of a naturally occurring protein known as cellular prion protein, PrPC. The abnormal form of prion protein, PrPSc accumulates in the brain of affected individuals. Both isoforms are encoded by the same prion protein gene (PRNP), and the structural changes occur post-translationally. Certain mutations in the PRNP gene result in genetic TSEs or increased susceptibility to TSEs.
A 70 year old woman was admitted to the hospital with severe confusion and inability to walk. Relatives recognized memory loss, gait and behavioral disturbances over a six month period prior to hospitalization. Neurological examination revealed Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) related symptoms such as incontinence, Babinski sign and myoclonus. EEG showed periodic sharp waves typical of sporadic CJD and cerebrospinal fluid analysis (CSF) was positive for the presence of the 14-3-3-protein. As the disease progressed the patient developed akinetic mutism and died in the tenth month after onset of the disease symptoms. Unfortunately, no autopsy material was available. PRNP sequencing showed the occurrence of a point mutation on one allele at codon 193, which is altered from ACC, coding for a threonine, to ATC, encoding an isoleucine (T193I).
Here we report a novel mutation of the PRNP gene found in an elderly female patient resulting in heterozygosity for isoleucine and threonine at codon 193, in which normally homozygosity for threonine is expected (T193). The patient presented typical clinical symptoms of CJD. EEG findings and the presence of the 14-3-3 protein in the CSF, contributed to CJD diagnosis, allowing the classification of this case as a probable CJD according to the World Health Organization (WHO) accepted criteria.
The shotgun strategy applying tandem mass spectrometry has been widely used to identify the proteins that are differentially distributed among diseases for its high reliability and efficiency. To find out the potential difference of protein profiles in cerebrospinal fluids (CSF) between Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and non-CJD patients, especially in the fraction ranging from 1–10 KD, the CSF samples of 40 probable sporadic CJD (sCJD) patients, 32 non-CJD cases with dementia and 17 non-CJD cases without dementia were separately pooled and enriched by the magnetic beads based weak cation exchange chromatography (MB-WCX). After trypsin digestion, each enriched CSF was separated and identified by RP-HPLC-ESI-QTOF MS/MS. In total, 42, 53 and 47 signals of proteins were identified in the pooled CSF fraction less than 10 KD of probable sCJD, non-CJD with dementia and non-CJD without dementia, respectively. Compared with that of probable sCJD, the similarity of CSF protein profiles of non-CJD with dementia (76.2%) were higher than that of non-CJD without dementia (57.1%). Nine CSF proteins were found to be specially observed in probable sCJD group. Those data may help to select the potential biomarkers for diagnosis of CJD. Additionally, further studies of the small segments of cellular proteins in CSF of CJD patients may also provide scientific clues for understanding the neuropathogenesis of TSEs.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; CSF; MB-HPLC-ESI-QTOF; 1–10 KD; comparative peptidome
analysis of markers in the cerebrospinal
fluid (CSF) is useful in
the diagnosis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). However,
the time at which the study
of these markers is most sensitive
To assess the influence of time of
sampling on the value of CSF tests
in the diagnosis of sCJD.
In the framework of a multinational
European study, we studied
the results of 14-3-3, S100b, neurone
specific enolase (NSE) and
tau protein in 833 CSF samples
from sCJD patients at different
stages of disease and in 66
sequentially repeated lumbar
and tau protein tended to increase
in sensitivity from onset (88%,
81%) to the advanced stage (91%,
90%). This was significant only in
the methionine-valine (MV) heterozygous
group of patients at
codon 129. The absolute levels of
S100b (p < 0.05), NSE and tau
protein increased in the last stage
of disease. High levels of tau
protein, NSE and S100b were
associated with shorter survival
times (p < 0.01). Sixty-six sCJD
patients underwent repeated LP.
These sCJD patients were younger,
had longer disease durations and
were more frequently MV at
codon 129 (p < 0.001) than the
whole group. 14-3-3 sensitivity
increased from 64% to 82% in the
second LP (p = 0.025) and 88%
sCJD patients had at least one
and absolute levels of CJD
markers increased with disease
progression and were modulated
by the codon 129 genotype. Early
negative results should be inter-preted with caution, especially in
young patients or those who are
MV at codon 129.
disease; prion; 14-3-3; tau; S100b; NSE; biological markers; repeated lumbar punctures; prognosis
Fast, definitive diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is important in assessing patient care options and transmission risks. Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assays of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and nasal-brushing specimens are valuable in distinguishing CJD from non-CJD conditions but have required 2.5 to 5 days. Here, an improved RT-QuIC assay is described which identified positive CSF samples within 4 to 14 h with better analytical sensitivity. Moreover, analysis of 11 CJD patients demonstrated that while 7 were RT-QuIC positive using the previous conditions, 10 were positive using the new assay. In these and further analyses, a total of 46 of 48 CSF samples from sporadic CJD patients were positive, while all 39 non-CJD patients were negative, giving 95.8% diagnostic sensitivity and 100% specificity. This second-generation RT-QuIC assay markedly improved the speed and sensitivity of detecting prion seeds in CSF specimens from CJD patients. This should enhance prospects for rapid and accurate ante mortem CJD diagnosis.
Importance A long-standing problem in dealing with various neurodegenerative protein misfolding diseases is early and accurate diagnosis. This issue is particularly important with human prion diseases, such as CJD, because prions are deadly, transmissible, and unusually resistant to decontamination. The recently developed RT-QuIC test allows for highly sensitive and specific detection of CJD in human cerebrospinal fluid and is being broadly implemented as a key diagnostic tool. However, as currently applied, RT-QuIC takes 2.5 to 5 days and misses 11 to 23% of CJD cases. Now, we have markedly improved RT-QuIC analysis of human CSF such that CJD and non-CJD patients can be discriminated in a matter of hours rather than days with enhanced sensitivity. These improvements should allow for much faster, more accurate, and practical testing for CJD. In broader terms, our study provides a prototype for tests for misfolded protein aggregates that cause many important amyloid diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and tauopathies.
A long-standing problem in dealing with various neurodegenerative protein misfolding diseases is early and accurate diagnosis. This issue is particularly important with human prion diseases, such as CJD, because prions are deadly, transmissible, and unusually resistant to decontamination. The recently developed RT-QuIC test allows for highly sensitive and specific detection of CJD in human cerebrospinal fluid and is being broadly implemented as a key diagnostic tool. However, as currently applied, RT-QuIC takes 2.5 to 5 days and misses 11 to 23% of CJD cases. Now, we have markedly improved RT-QuIC analysis of human CSF such that CJD and non-CJD patients can be discriminated in a matter of hours rather than days with enhanced sensitivity. These improvements should allow for much faster, more accurate, and practical testing for CJD. In broader terms, our study provides a prototype for tests for misfolded protein aggregates that cause many important amyloid diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and tauopathies.
Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI have high sensitivity and specificity for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). No studies, however, have demonstrated how MRI can distinguish CJD from nonprion causes of rapidly progressive dementia (npRPD). We sought to determine the diagnostic accuracy of MRI for CJD compared to a cohort of npRPD subjects.
Two neuroradiologists blinded to diagnosis assessed DWI and FLAIR images in 90 patients with npRPD (n = 29) or prion disease (sporadic CJD [sCJD], n = 48, or genetic prion disease [familial CJD, n = 6, and Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker, n = 7]). Thirty-one gray matter regions per hemisphere were assessed for abnormal hyperintensities. The likelihood of CJD was assessed using our previously published criteria.
Gray matter hyperintensities (DWI > FLAIR) were found in all sCJD cases, with certain regions preferentially involved, but never only in limbic regions, and rarely in the precentral gyrus. In all sCJD cases with basal ganglia or thalamic DWI hyperintensities, there was associated restricted diffusion (apparent diffusion coefficient [ADC] map). This restricted diffusion, however, was not seen in any npRPD cases, in whom isolated limbic hyperintensities (FLAIR > DWI) were common. One reader's sensitivity and specificity for sCJD was 94% and 100%, respectively, the other's was 92% and 72%. After consensus review, the readers' combined MRI sensitivity and specificity for sCJD was 96% and 93%, respectively. Familial CJD had overlapping MRI features with sCJD.
The pattern of FLAIR/DWI hyperintensity and restricted diffusion can differentiate sCJD from other RPDs with a high sensitivity and specificity. MRI with DWI and ADC should be included in sCJD diagnostic criteria. New sCJD MRI criteria are proposed.
Microglial activations have been described in different subtypes of human prion diseases such as sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), variant CJD, Kuru and Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease (GSS). However, the situation of microglia in other genetic prion diseases such as fatal familial insomnia (FFI) and familial CJD remains less understood. The brain microglia was evaluated comparatively between the FFI, G114V and sCJD cases in the study.
Specific Western blots, immunohistochemical and immunofluorescent assays were used to detect the changes of microglia and ELISA tests were used for levels of inflammatory cytokines.
Western blots, immunohistochemical and immunofluorescent assays illustrated almost unchanged microglia in the temporal lobes of FFI and G114V gCJD, but obviously increased in those of sCJD. The Iba1-levels maintained comparable in six different brain regions of FFI and G114V cases, including thalamus, cingulate gyrus, frontal cortex, parietal cortex, occipital cortex and temporal cortex. ELISA tests for inflammatory cytokines revealed significantly up-regulated IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in the brain homogenates from sCJD, but not in those from FFI and G114V gCJD.
Data here demonstrates silent brain microglia in FFI and G114V gCJD but obviously increased in sCJD, which reflects various pathogenesis of different human prion diseases subtypes.
Prions; Microglia; Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; Fatal familial insomnia; G114V; Cytokines
A national system for surveillance of prion diseases (PrDs) was established in Japan in April 1999. Here, we analyzed the relationships among prion protein gene (PRNP) mutations and the clinical features, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers, and pathological characteristics of the major genotypes of genetic PrDs (gPrDs). We retrospectively analyzed age at onset and disease duration; the concentrations and incidences of 14-3-3 protein, tau protein, and abnormal prion protein (PrPSc) in the CSF of 309 gPrD patients with P102L, P105L, E200K, V180I, or M232R mutations; and brain pathology in 32 autopsied patients. Three clinical phenotypes were seen: rapidly progressive Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which included 100% of E200K cases, 70% of M232R, and 21% of P102L; slowly progressive CJD, which included 100% of V180I and 30% of M232R; and Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease, which included 100% of P105L and 79% of P102L. PrPSc was detected in the CSF of more than 80% of patients with E200K, M232R, or P102L mutations but in only 39% of patients with V180I. V180I was accompanied by weak PrP immunoreactivity in the brain. Patients negative for PrPSc in the CSF were older at disease onset than positive patients. Patients with mutations associated with high 14-3-3 protein levels in the CSF typically had synaptic deposition of PrP in the brain and a rapid course of disease. The presence of small PrP protein fragments in brain homogenates was not correlated with other clinicopathological features. Positivity for PrPSc in the CSF may reflect the pathological process before or at disease onset, or abnormality in the secretion or metabolism of PrPSc. The amount of 14-3-3 protein in the CSF likely indicates the severity of the pathological process and accompanying neuronal damage. These characteristic features of the CSF in cases of gPrD will likely facilitate accurate diagnosis and clinicopathological study of the various disease subtypes.
To better characterize the value of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) proteins as diagnostic markers in a clinical population of subacute encephalopathy patients with relatively low prevalence of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), we studied the diagnostic accuracies of several such markers (14-3-3, tau and S100B) in 1000 prospectively and sequentially recruited Canadian patients with clinically suspected sCJD.
The study included 127 patients with autopsy-confirmed sCJD (prevalence = 12.7%) and 873 with probable non-CJD diagnoses. Standard statistical measures of diagnostic accuracy were employed, including sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp), predictive values (PVs), likelihood ratios (LRs), and Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis.
At optimal cutoff thresholds (empirically selected for 14-3-3, assayed by immunoblot; 976 pg/mL for tau and 2.5 ng/mL for S100B, both assayed by ELISA), Se and Sp respectively were 0.88 (95% CI, 0.81-0.93) and 0.72 (0.69-0.75) for 14-3-3; 0.91 (0.84-0.95) and 0.88 (0.85-0.90) for tau; and 0.87 (0.80-0.92) and 0.87 (0.84-0.89) for S100B. The observed differences in Sp between 14-3-3 and either of the other 2 markers were statistically significant. Positive LRs were 3.1 (2.8-3.6) for 14-3-3; 7.4 (6.9-7.8) for tau; and 6.6 (6.1-7.1) for S100B. Negative LRs were 0.16 (0.10-0.26) for 14-3-3; 0.10 (0.06-0.20) for tau; and 0.15 (0.09-0.20) for S100B. Estimates of areas under ROC curves were 0.947 (0.931-0.961) for tau and 0.908 (0.888-0.926) for S100B. Use of interval LRs (iLRs) significantly enhanced accuracy for patient subsets [e.g., 41/120 (34.2%) of tested sCJD patients displayed tau levels > 10,000 pg/mL, with an iLR of 56.4 (22.8-140.0)], as did combining tau and S100B [e.g., for tau > 976 pg/mL and S100B > 2.5 ng/mL, positive LR = 18.0 (12.9-25.0) and negative LR = 0.02 (0.01-0.09)].
CSF 14-3-3, tau and S100B proteins are useful diagnostic markers of sCJD even in a low-prevalence clinical population. CSF tau showed better overall diagnostic accuracy than 14-3-3 or S100B. Reporting of quantitative assay results and combining tau with S100B could enhance case definitions used in diagnosis and surveillance of sCJD.
Human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (HTSE), or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), is a group of rare and fatal diseases in central nervous system. Since outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and variant CJD, a worldwide CJD surveillance network has been established under the proposition of WHO. In China, a national CJD surveillance system has started since 2002. The data of CJD surveillance from 2006 to 2007 was analyzed.
Total 12 provinces are included in CJD surveillance system. The surveillance unit in each province consists of one or two sentinel hospitals and the provincial CDC. All suspected CJD cases reported from CJD surveillance were diagnosed and subtyped based on the diagnostic criteria for CJD issued by WHO.
Total 192 suspected CJD cases were reported and 5 genetic CJD, 51 probable and 30 possible sporadic CJD (sCJD) cases were diagnosed. The collected sCJD cases distribute sporadically without geographical clustering and seasonal relativity and the highest incidences in both probable and possible sCJD cases appeared in the group of 60–69 year. The most common three foremost symptoms were progressive dementia, cerebellum and mental-related symptoms. The probable sCJD patients owning both typical EEG alteration and CSF protein 14-3-3 positive have more characteristic clinical syndromes than the ones having only one positive. The polymorphisms of codon 129 of all tested reported cases shows typical patterns of Han Chinese as previous reports, that M129M are predominant whereas M129V are seldom.
Chinese CJD patients possessed similar epidemiological and clinical characteristics as worldwide.
The gamma-isoform of the 14-3-3 protein (14-3-3 gamma) is expressed in neurons, and could be a specific marker for neuronal damage. This protein has been reported as a detectable biomarker, especially in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) patients by Western blotting (WB) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). Western blotting for 14-3-3 gamma is not sensitive, and the reported data are conflicting among publications. An ELISA specific for 14-3-3 gamma is not available.
CJD patients (n = 114 sporadic CJD patients, 7 genetic CJD, and 3 iatrogenic CJD) and 99 patients with other neurodegenerative diseases were examined in this study. The CSF samples obtained were analyzed by Western blotting for 14-3-3 gamma, and by ELISA for total tau protein. We evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of the newly developed sandwich ELISA for 14-3-3 gamma.
The cut-off value of the 14-3-3 gamma ELISA was > 1, 683 AU/ml; and sensitivity was 95.2%, with 72.7% specificity. This specificity was the same for the total tau protein ELISA. Seven CJD cases were negative by WB but positive using the 14-3-3 gamma ELISA, indicating that the ELISA is more sensitive. All 21 cases of early stage CJD could be diagnosed using a combination of the 14-3-3γ ELISA and diffusion weighted MR imaging (DWI-MRI).
The 14-3-3 gamma ELISA was more sensitive than conventional WB, and was useful for laboratory diagnosis of CJD, similar to the ELISA for the tau protein. Using DWI-MRI and these ELISA tests on CSF, diagnosis of CJD will be possible even at early stages of the disease.
CJD; CSF; ELISA; prion disease; 14-3-3 protein; tau protein
In clinical practice signal hyperintensity in the cortex and/or in the striatum on magnetic resonance (MR) diffusion-weighted images (DWIs) is a marker of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease (sCJD). MR diagnostic accuracy is greater than 90%, but the biophysical mechanisms underpinning the signal abnormality are unknown. The aim of this prospective study is to combine an advanced DWI protocol with new mathematical models of the microstructural changes occurring in prion disease patients to investigate the cause of MR signal alterations. This underpins the later development of more sensitive and specific image-based biomarkers. DWI data with a wide a range of echo times and diffusion weightings were acquired in 15 patients with suspected diagnosis of prion disease and in 4 healthy age-matched subjects. Clinical diagnosis of sCJD was made in nine patients, genetic CJD in one, rapidly progressive encephalopathy in three, and Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker syndrome in two. Data were analysed with two bi-compartment models that represent different hypotheses about the histopathological alterations responsible for the DWI signal hyperintensity. A ROI-based analysis was performed in 13 grey matter areas located in affected and apparently unaffected regions from patients and healthy subjects. We provide for the first time non-invasive estimate of the restricted compartment radius, designed to reflect vacuole size, which is a key discriminator of sCJD subtypes. The estimated vacuole size in DWI hyperintense cortex was in the range between 3 and 10 µm that is compatible with neuropathology measurements. In DWI hyperintense grey matter of sCJD patients the two bi-compartment models outperform the classic mono-exponential ADC model. Both new models show that T2 relaxation times significantly increase, fast and slow diffusivities reduce, and the fraction of the compartment with slow/restricted diffusion increases compared to unaffected grey matter of patients and healthy subjects. Analysis of the raw DWI signal allows us to suggest the following acquisition parameters for optimized detection of CJD lesions: b = 3000 s/mm2 and TE = 103 ms. In conclusion, these results provide the first in vivo estimate of mean vacuole size, new insight on the mechanisms of DWI signal changes in prionopathies and open the way to designing an optimized acquisition protocol to improve early clinical diagnosis and subtyping of sCJD.
•An advanced DWI acquisition scheme was applied to 15 patients with suspected sCJD.•Data fitting with two bi-compartment models outperformed the classic ADC model.•In affected GM T2 values were increased, diffusion was more hindered or restricted.•For the first time an estimate of the restricted compartment radius was provided.•The radius may reflect vacuole size, which is a key discriminator of sCJD subtypes.
Diffusion MRI; Biophysical models; Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; Prion disease; Spongiform degeneration; ADC, apparent diffusion coefficient; BIC, Bayesian information criterion; CJD, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; CNR, contrast to noise ratio; DWI, diffusion weighted imaging; EEG, electroencephalogram; EPI, echo-planar imaging; FOV, field of view; GSS, Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker syndrome; MPRAGE, magnetization-prepared rapid acquisition gradient-echo; PrPC, prion protein cellular; PrPSc, prion protein scrapie; ROI, region of interest; RPE, rapidly progressive encephalopathy; sCJD, sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; SS-SE, single shot spin-echo; TE, echo time; TI, inversion time; TR, repetition time
Transmission of prions between species is limited by the “species barrier,” which hampers a full characterization of human prion strains in the mouse model. We report that the efficiency of primary transmission of prions from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease patients to a wild rodent species, the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus), is comparable to that reported in transgenic mice carrying human prion protein, in spite of a low prion protein–sequence homology between man and vole. Voles infected with sporadic and genetic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease isolates show strain-specific patterns of spongiform degeneration and pathological prion protein–deposition, and accumulate protease-resistant prion protein with biochemical properties similar to the human counterpart. Adaptation of genetic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease isolates to voles shows little or no evidence of a transmission barrier, in contrast to the striking barriers observed during transmission of mouse, hamster, and sheep prions to voles. Our results imply that in voles there is no clear relationship between the degree of homology of the prion protein of the donor and recipient species and susceptibility, consistent with the view that the prion strain gives a major contribution to the species barrier. The vole is therefore a valuable model to study human prion diversity and, being susceptible to a range of animal prions, represents a unique tool for comparing isolates from different species.
Prions are unconventional infectious agents that cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases. The transmission of prions between species is considered a rare event because it is limited by the “species barrier.” Nevertheless, in the past 10 y, more than 180 people worldwide died with variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD) following consumption of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)–contaminated food. The vCJD crisis highlights the need for experimental approaches that are able to characterize human prions and to estimate the risk of animal prions for man. The authors used a new animal model, the bank vole, which appears to address these issues. They observed that these rodents are highly susceptible to sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (sCJD) and genetic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (gCJD), as well as to several animal prions. Transmission to voles indicates that sCJD is caused by at least two distinct prion strains. Surprisingly, voles challenged with gCJD isolates do not show a species barrier, while prions from closely related rodent species encounter a clear barrier in transmitting to voles. Inoculation of voles with scrapie-related and BSE-related strains from several species suggests that the prion strain, and not the donor species, is the major determinant of prion transmissibility between different species. The authors conclude that the vole model is a valuable tool for comparing animal and human prions.
A key challenge in managing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases in medicine, agriculture, and wildlife biology is the development of practical tests for prions that are at or below infectious levels. Of particular interest are tests capable of detecting prions in blood components such as plasma, but blood typically has extremely low prion concentrations and contains inhibitors of the most sensitive prion tests. One of the latter tests is quaking-induced conversion (QuIC), which can be as sensitive as in vivo bioassays, but much more rapid, higher throughput, and less expensive. Now we have integrated antibody 15B3-based immunoprecipitation with QuIC reactions to increase sensitivity and isolate prions from inhibitors such as those in plasma samples. Coupling of immunoprecipitation and an improved real-time QuIC reaction dramatically enhanced detection of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) brain tissue diluted into human plasma. Dilutions of 1014-fold, containing ~2 attogram (ag) per ml of proteinase K-resistant prion protein, were readily detected, indicating ~10,000-fold greater sensitivity for vCJD brain than has previously been reported. We also discriminated between plasma and serum samples from scrapie-infected and uninfected hamsters, even in early preclinical stages. This combined assay, which we call “enhanced QuIC” (eQuIC), markedly improves prospects for routine detection of low levels of prions in tissues, fluids, or environmental samples.
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are largely untreatable and are difficult to diagnose definitively prior to irreversible clinical decline or death. The transmissibility of TSEs within and between species highlights the need for practical tests for even the smallest amounts of infectivity. A few sufficiently sensitive in vitro methods have been reported, but most have major limitations that would preclude their use in routine diagnostic or screening applications. Our new assay improves the outlook for such critical applications. We focused initially on blood plasma because a practical blood test for prions would be especially valuable for TSE diagnostics and risk reduction. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in particular has been transmitted between humans via blood transfusions. Enhanced real-time quaking-induced conversion (eQuIC) provides by far the most sensitive detection of vCJD to date. The 15B3 antibody binds prions of multiple species, suggesting that our assay may be useful for clinical and fundamental studies of a variety of TSEs of humans and animals.
Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) cases are currently subclassified according to the methionine/valine polymorphism at codon 129 of the PRNP gene and the proteinase K (PK) digested abnormal prion protein (PrPres) identified on Western blotting (type 1 or type 2). These biochemically distinct PrPres types have been considered to represent potential distinct prion strains. However, since cases of CJD show co-occurrence of type 1 and type 2 PrPres in the brain, the basis of this classification system and its relationship to agent strain are under discussion. Different brain areas from 41 sCJD and 12 iatrogenic CJD (iCJD) cases were investigated, using Western blotting for PrPres and two other biochemical assays reflecting the behaviour of the disease-associated form of the prion protein (PrPSc) under variable PK digestion conditions. In 30% of cases, both type 1 and type 2 PrPres were identified. Despite this, the other two biochemical assays found that PrPSc from an individual patient demonstrated uniform biochemical properties. Moreover, in sCJD, four distinct biochemical PrPSc subgroups were identified that correlated with the current sCJD clinico-pathological classification. In iCJD, four similar biochemical clusters were observed, but these did not correlate to any particular PRNP 129 polymorphism or western blot PrPres pattern. The identification of four different PrPSc biochemical subgroups in sCJD and iCJD, irrespective of the PRNP polymorphism at codon 129 and the PrPres isoform provides an alternative biochemical definition of PrPSc diversity and new insight in the perception of Human TSE agents variability.
Prion diseases are transmissible neurodegenerative disorders characterized by accumulation of an abnormal isoform (PrPSc) of a host-encoded protein (PrPC) in affected tissues. According to the prion hypothesis, PrPSc alone constitutes the infectious agent. Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) is the commonest human prion disease. Although considered as a spontaneous disorder, the clinicopathological phenotype of sCJD is variable and substantially influenced by the methionine/valine polymorphism at codon 129 of the prion protein gene (PRNP). Based on these clinicopathological and genetic criteria, a subclassification of sCJD has been proposed. Here, we used two new biochemical assays that identified four distinct biochemical PrPSc subgroups in a cohort of 41 sCJD cases. These subgroups correlate with the current sCJD subclassification and could therefore represent distinct prion strains. Iatrogenic CJD (iCJD) occurs following presumed accidental human-to-human sCJD transmission. Our biochemical investigations on 12 iCJD cases from different countries found the same four subgroups as in sCJD. However, in contrast to the sCJD cases, no particular correlation between the PRNP codon 129 polymorphism and biochemical PrPSc phenotype could be established in iCJD cases. This study provides an alternative biochemical definition of PrPSc diversity in human prion diseases and new insights into the perception of agent variability.
The first transmissions of human prion diseases to rodents used guinea pigs (Gps, Cavia porcellus). Later, transgenic (Tg) mice expressing human or chimeric human/mouse PrP replaced Gps, but the small size of the mouse limits some investigations. To investigate the fidelity of strain-specific prion transmission to Gps, we inoculated “type 1” and “type 2” prion strains into Gps: we measured the incubation times and determined the strain-specified size of the unglycosylated, protease-resistant (r) PrPSc fragment. Prions passaged once in Gps from cases of sporadic (s) Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) and Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease caused by the P102L mutation were used as well as human prions from a variant (v) CJD case, bovine prions from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and mouse-passaged scrapie prions. Variant CJD and BSE prions transmitted to all the inoculated Gps with incubation times of 367 ± 4 d and 436 ± 28 d, respectively. On second passage in Gps, vCJD and BSE prions caused disease in 287 ± 4 d and 310 ± 4 d, while sCJD and GSS prions transmitted in 237 ± 4 d and 279 ± 19 d, respectively. Although hamster Sc237 prions transmitted to 2 of 3 Gps after 574 and 792 d, mouse-passaged RML and 301V prion strains, the latter derived from BSE prions, failed to transmit disease to Gps. Those Gps inoculated with vCJD or BSE prions exhibited “type 2” unglycosylated, rPrPSc (19 kDa) while those receiving sCJD or GSS prions displayed “type 1” prions (21 kDa), as determined by Western blotting. Such strain-specific properties were maintained in Gps as well as mice expressing a chimeric human/mouse transgene. Gps may prove particularly useful in further studies of novel human prions such as those causing vCJD.
BSE; vCJD; sCJD; GSS; prions; guinea pig
Prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are infectious neurodegenerative disorders leading to death. These include Cresutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), familial, sporadic and variant CJD and kuru in humans; and animal TSEs include scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, chronic wasting disease (CWD) of mule deer and elk, and transmissible mink encephalopathy. All these TSEs share common pathological features such as accumulation of mis-folded prion proteins in the central nervous system leading to cellular dysfunction and cell death. It is important to characterize the molecular pathways and events leading to prion induced neurodegeneration. Here we discuss the impact of the functional genomics approaches including microarrays, subtractive hybridization and microRNA profiling in elucidating transcriptional cascades at different stages of disease. Many of these transcriptional changes have been observed in multiple neurodegenerative diseases which may aid in identification of biomarkers for disease. A comprehensive characterization of expression profiles implicated in neurodegenerative disorders will undoubtedly advance our understanding on neuropathology and dysfunction during prion disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. We also present an outlook on the future work which may focus on analysis of structural genetic variation, genome and transcriptome sequencing using next generation sequencing with an integrated approach on animal and human TSE related studies.
Prion; TSEs; gene expression; functional candiate genes; PRNP; microarray.
Human prion diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), are neurodegenerative and fatal. Sporadic CJD (sCJD) can be transmitted between humans through medical procedures involving highly infected organs, such as the central nervous system. However, in variant CJD (vCJD), which is due to human contamination with the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent, lymphoreticular tissue also harbors the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy-associated prion protein (PrPTSE), which poses a particularly acute risk for iatrogenic transmission. Two blood transfusion-related cases are already documented. In addition, the recent observation of PrPTSE in spleen and muscle in sCJD raised the possibility that peripheral PrPTSE is not limited to vCJD cases. We aimed to clarify the peripheral pathogenesis of human TSEs by using a nonhuman primate model which mimics human diseases. A highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was adapted to the detection of extraneural PrPTSE. We show that affected organs can be divided into two groups. The first is peripheral organs accumulating large amounts of PrPTSE, which represent a high risk of iatrogenic transmission. This category comprises only lymphoreticular organs in the vCJD/BSE model. The second is organs with small amounts of PrPTSE associated with nervous structures. These are the muscles, adrenal glands, and enteric nervous system in the sporadic, iatrogenic, and variant CJD models. In contrast to the first set of organs, this low level of tissue contamination is not strain restricted and seems to be linked to secondary centrifugal spread of the agent through nerves. It might represent a risk for iatrogenic transmission, formerly underestimated despite previous reports of low rates of transmission from peripheral organs of humans to nonhuman primates (5, 10). This study provides an additional experimental basis for the classification of human organs into different risk categories and a rational re-evaluation of current risk management measures.
Brain derived proteins such as 14-3-3, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), S 100b, tau, phosphorylated tau and Aβ1–42 were found to be altered in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) patients. The pathogenic mechanisms leading to these abnormalities are not known, but a relation to rapid neuronal damage is assumed. No systematic analysis on brain-derived proteins in the CSF and neuropathological lesion profiles has been performed.
CSF protein levels of brain-derived proteins and the degree of spongiform changes, neuronal loss and gliosis in various brain areas were analyzed in 57 CJD patients.
We observed three different patterns of CSF alteration associated with the degree of cortical and subcortical changes. NSE levels increased with lesion severity of subcortical areas. Tau and 14-3-3 levels increased with minor pathological changes, a negative correlation was observed with severity of cortical lesions. Levels of the physiological form of the prion protein (PrPc) and Aβ1–42 levels correlated negatively with cortical pathology, most clearly with temporal and occipital lesions.
Our results indicate that the alteration of levels of brain-derived proteins in the CSF does not only reflect the degree of neuronal damage, but it is also modified by the localization on the brain pathology. Brain specific lesion patterns have to be considered when analyzing CSF neuronal proteins.
The diagnostic value of CSF tau for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) has been widely evaluated, showing a markedly disease-relative manner. However, the profiles of tau isoforms in CSF of CJD patients remain unknown. Here, we prepared the exon-specific antibodies against the peptides encoded by exon-2, exon-3 and exon-10 of human tau protein and evaluated the reactive profiles of tau in CSF samples from the patients with probable CJD.
Sequences encoding exon-2, exon-3 and exon-10 of human tau protein were cloned into a prokaryotic expression vector pGEX-2T. Using recombinant fusion proteins GST-E2, GST-E3 and GST-E10, three tau exon-specific antibodies were elicited. Reliable specificities of the prepared antibodies were obtained after a serial of purification processes, not only in recognizing the tau peptides encoded by exon-2, -3 and -10, but also in distinguishing six recombinant tau isoforms by Western blot and ELISA. Three predominant tau-specific bands were observed in CSF samples with the exon-specific and the commercial tau antibodies, respectively, showing different reactive profiles between the groups of probable CJD and non-CJD. A 65 KD band was detected only in the CSF samples from probable CJD patients, especially with the antibodies against exon-2 (Anti-tE2) and exon-10 (Anit-tE10). The appearances of 65 KD band in CSF correlated well with positive 14-3-3 in CSF and typical abnormality in EEG. Such band was not observed in the CSF samples of six tested genetic CJD patients.
Three exon-specific polyclonal antibodies were successfully prepared. Based on these antibodies, different CSF tau profiles in Western blots were observed between the groups of probable CJD and non-CJD. A disease-specific tau band emerged in the CSF samples from probable sporadic CJD, which may supply a new biomarker for screening sporadic CJD.
Squirrel monkeys were experimentally infected with the classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent. Two to four years later, six of the monkeys developed alterations in interactive behavior, cognition and other neurological signs typical of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). At necropsy, all brains showed pathological changes similar to those described in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) of humans, except that the squirrel monkey brains contained no PrP amyloid plaques typical of that disease. Constant neuropathological features included spongiform degeneration, gliosis, deposition of abnormal prion protein (PrPTSE) and many deposits of abnormally phosphorylated tau protein (p-Tau) in several areas of the cerebrum and cerebellum. Western blots showed large amounts of proteinase-K-resistant prion protein in the central nervous system. The striking absence of PrP plaques (prominent in brains of cynomolgus macaques with both experimental BSE and vCJD and in patients with vCJD) reinforces the conclusion that the host plays a major role in determining the neuropathology of TSEs. Results of this study suggest that p-Tau, found in the brains of all BSE-infected monkeys, might play a role in the pathogenesis of TSEs. Whether p-Tau contributes to development of disease or appears as a secondary change late in the course of illness remains to be determined.
bovine spongiform encephalopathy; prion disease; prion protein; tau protein
Microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2) belongs to the family of heat stable MAPs, which takes part in neuronal morphogenesis, maintenance of cellular architecture and internal organization, cell division and cellular processes. To obtain insight into the possible alteration and the role of MAP2 in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), the MAP2 levels in the brain tissues of agent 263K-infected hamsters and human prion diseases were evaluated. Western blots and IHC revealed that at the terminal stages of the diseases, MAP2 levels in the brain tissues of scrapie infected hamsters, a patient with genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (G114V gCJD) and a patient with fatal familial insomnia (FFI) were almost undetectable. The decline of MAP2 was closely related with prolonged incubation time. Exposure of SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cell line to cytotoxic PrP106-126 peptide significantly down-regulated the cellular MAP2 level and remarkably disrupted the microtubule structure, but did not alter the level of tubulin. Moreover, the levels of calpain, which mediated the degradation of a broad of cytoskeletal proteins, were significantly increased in both PrP106-126 treated SK-N-SH cells and brain tissues of 263K prion-infected hamsters. Our data indicate that the decline of MAP2 is a common phenomenon in TSEs, which seems to occur at an early stage of incubation period. Markedly increased calpain level might contribute to the reduction of MAP2.
To investigate whether phosphorylated tau protein (tau‐pT181) is increased in variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (vCJD) and if the tau‐pT181/tau protein ratio is useful for distinguishing between patients with and without CJD.
CSF tau protein and tau‐pT181 were measured in 50 patients with sporadic CJD (sCJD), 51 patients with vCJD, 46 sCJD controls, and 37 vCJD controls, using Innotest hTau and Innotest P‐Thr181, Innogenetics.
Concentrations of CSF tau protein were increased in sCJD (5120 v 367 pg/ml in controls, p<0.001) and vCJD (952 v 106 pg/ml, p<0.001); tau‐pT181 was also raised in sCJD (61 v 35 pg/ml in controls, p = 0.002) and vCJD (114 v 33 pg/ml, p<0.001). Median concentrations of tau‐pT181 were higher in vCJD than in sCJD (p<0.001). The tau‐pT181/tau protein ratio was lower than in controls in both sCJD (12 v 128 (p<0.001)) and vCJD (119 v 279 (p<0.001)). Mean tau‐pT181/tau protein ratio was 10‐fold higher in vCJD than in sCJD. Raised CSF tau protein had the highest efficiency for distinguishing sCJD and vCJD from controls.
CSF tau‐pT181 concentrations are raised in vCJD and are higher than in sCJD. Measurement of CSF tau‐pT181/tau protein ratio does not improve the diagnostic efficiency of CSF tau protein alone for either vCJD or sCJD. The higher concentration of CSF tau‐pT181 found in vCJD suggests that unexplained pathogenic factors influence the phosphorylation of tau protein in vCJD patients.
Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; tau protein; phosphorylated tau
Human prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders that are characterized by spongiform changes, astrogliosis, and the accumulation of an abnormal prion protein (PrPSc). Approximately 10%-15% of human prion diseases are familial variants that are caused by pathogenic mutations in the prion protein gene (PRNP). Point mutations or the insertions of one or more copies of a 24 bp repeat are associated with familial human prion diseases including familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome, and fatal familial insomnia. These mutations vary significantly in frequency between countries. Here, we compare the frequency of PRNP mutations between European countries and East Asians. Associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of several candidate genes including PRNP and CJD have been reported. The SNP of PRNP at codon 129 has been shown to be associated with sporadic, iatrogenic, and variant CJD. The SNPs of several genes other than PRNP have been showed contradictory results. Case-control studies and genome-wide association studies have also been performed to identify candidate genes correlated with variant and/or sporadic CJD. This review provides a general overview of the genetic mutations and polymorphisms that have been analyzed in association with human prion diseases to date.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease; Genome-Wide Association Study; Prion Diseases; Mutation; Prion Protein Gene; Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide