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1.  Immune responses in rapidly progressive dementia: a comparative study of neuroinflammatory markers in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis 
Immunological responses may contribute to disease progression and clinical heterogeneity in neurodegenerative dementia, for example, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Recently, a rapidly progressive form of AD (rpAD) has been described. On neuropathological grounds classical AD and rpAD are not distinguishable at present. All those protein aggregopathies show a state of chronic inflammation with microglia activation and production of proinflammatory cytokines. In this context, it is hypothesized that the severity of the surrounding inflammation substantially contributes to disease progression and accelerated disease courses as seen in rpAD.
Using a cytokine multiplex array based on Luminex Technology, we studied 17 pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum from patients with classical dementia (AD) or rapidly progressive dementia (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), rpAD). For controls, we chose patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and non-neurodegenerative diseases. We found a significant and isolated elevation of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-13, TNF-α and G-CSF) in the serum of rpAD patients. In CSF, IL-8 and MCP-1 chemokines were significantly elevated in CJD patients and MCP-1 in AD patients.
In conclusion, we found a characteristic proinflammatory cytokine response in the serum of rpAD patients. It might explain the more rapidly progressive course of the rpAD subform and can be helpful in distinguishing between classical AD and rpAD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12974-014-0170-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12974-014-0170-y
PMCID: PMC4207356  PMID: 25315814
2.  Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and ischemic stroke patients: a critical analysis 
Journal of Neurology  2013;260(11):2722-2727.
Vascular factors are thought to contribute to the development of disease pathology in neurodegenerative dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Another entity, called vascular dementia (VaD), comprises a less defined group of dementia patients having various vascular diseases that especially emerge in the elderly population and require valid options for examination and differential diagnosis. In the context of a retrospective study, we analyzed the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers t-tau, p-tau and Aß42 of a total of 131 patients with AD (n = 47), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (n = 22), VaD (n = 44) and stroke (n = 18). We found a remarkable alteration in CSF biomarker profile in AD, VaD and in acute ischemic events. CSF profile in AD patients was altered in a very similar way as in stroke patients, without statistical differences. In stroke, increase depend largely on size and duration after the initial event. Total tau levels were useful to differ between VaD and stroke. Aß42 decreased in a similar way in AD, VaD and stroke and had a trend to lower levels in MCI but not in controls.
doi:10.1007/s00415-013-7047-3
PMCID: PMC3825487  PMID: 23877436
CSF; Biomarkers; Aß; Tau; Alzheimer’s disease; Vascular dementia; Stroke
3.  Cerebrospinal fluid biomarker supported diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and rapid dementias: a longitudinal multicentre study over 10 years 
Brain  2012;135(10):3051-3061.
To date, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, particularly protein 14-3-3 testing, presents an important approach in the identification of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease cases. However, one special point of criticism of 14-3-3 testing is the specificity in the differential diagnosis of rapid dementia. The constant observation of increased cerebrospinal fluid referrals in the national surveillance centres over the last years raises the concern of declining specificity due to higher number of cerebrospinal fluid tests performed in various neurological conditions. Within the framework of a European Community supported longitudinal multicentre study (‘cerebrospinal fluid markers’) we analysed the spectrum of rapid progressive dementia diagnoses, their potential influence on 14-3-3 specificity as well as results of other dementia markers (tau, phosphorylated tau and amyloid-β1–42) and evaluated the specificity of 14-3-3 in Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease diagnosis for the years 1998–2008. A total of 29 022 cerebrospinal fluid samples were analysed for 14-3-3 protein and other cerebrospinal fluid dementia markers in patients with rapid dementia and suspected Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in the participating centres. In 10 731 patients a definite diagnosis could be obtained. Protein 14-3-3 specificity was analysed for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease with respect to increasing cerebrospinal fluid tests per year and spectrum of differential diagnosis. Ring trials were performed to ensure the comparability between centres during the reported time period. Protein 14-3-3 test specificity remained high and stable in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease during the observed time period across centres (total specificity 92%; when compared with patients with definite diagnoses only: specificity 90%). However, test specificity varied with respect to differential diagnosis. A high 14-3-3 specificity was obtained in differentiation to other neurodegenerative diseases (95–97%) and non-neurological conditions (91–97%). We observed lower specificity in the differential diagnoses of acute neurological diseases (82–87%). A marked and constant increase in cerebrospinal fluid test referrals per year in all centres did not influence 14-3-3 test specificity and no change in spectrum of differential diagnosis was observed. Cerebrospinal fluid protein 14-3-3 detection remains an important test in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. Due to a loss in specificity in acute neurological events, the interpretation of positive 14-3-3 results needs to be performed in the clinical context. The spectrum of differential diagnosis of rapid progressive dementia varied from neurodegenerative dementias to dementia due to acute neurological conditions such as inflammatory diseases and non-neurological origin.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws238
PMCID: PMC3470713  PMID: 23012332
rapid dementia; Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; cerebrospinal fluid; 14-3-3; specificity; neurodegeneration; differential diagnosis in dementia
4.  A case-control study of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Switzerland: analysis of potential risk factors with regard to an increased CJD incidence in the years 2001–2004 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:18.
Background
In 2001, the observed annual mortality from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in Switzerland increased from less than 1.5 to 2.6 per million inhabitants. An underlying cause could not be identified.
Methods
To analyse potential risk factors for sCJD in Switzerland, close relatives of 69 sCJD-patients and 224 frequency age-matched controls were interviewed in a case-control study using a standardised questionnaire. 135 potential risk factors including socio-demographics, medical history, occupation and diet were analysed by logistic regression adjusting for age, sex and education.
Results
sCJD patients were more likely to have travelled abroad, worked at an animal laboratory, undergone invasive dental treatment, orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmologic surgery after 1980, regular GP visits, taken medication regularly, and consumed kidney. No differences between patients and controls were found for residency, family history, and exposure to environmental and other dietary factors.
Conclusion
Although some factors were significantly more frequent among sCJD-cases, this study did not reveal specific explanations for the increased incidence of deaths due to sporadic CJD observed in Switzerland since 2001. Results have to be interpreted with caution due to multiple testing and possible recall bias in association with a long incubation period. The most plausible reason for the increase in Swiss sCJD cases after 2000 is an improved case ascertainment. Therefore, underreporting of cases might well have occurred before the year 2001, and the "real" yearly incidence of sCJD might not be lower than, but rather above 2 per million inhabitants.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-18
PMCID: PMC2637857  PMID: 19144172
5.  Urinary α1-Antichymotrypsin: A Biomarker of Prion Infection 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3870.
The occurrence of blood-borne prion transmission incidents calls for identification of potential prion carriers. However, current methods for intravital diagnosis of prion disease rely on invasive tissue biopsies and are unsuitable for large-scale screening. Sensitive biomarkers may help meeting this need. Here we scanned the genome for transcripts elevated upon prion infection and encoding secreted proteins. We found that α1-antichymotrypsin (α1-ACT) was highly upregulated in brains of scrapie-infected mice. Furthermore, α1-ACT levels were dramatically increased in urine of patients suffering from sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and increased progressively throughout the disease. Increased α1-ACT excretion was also found in cases of natural prion disease of animals. Therefore measurement of urinary α1-ACT levels may be useful for monitoring the efficacy of therapeutic regimens for prion disease, and possibly also for deferring blood and organ donors that may be at risk of transmitting prion infections.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003870
PMCID: PMC2586086  PMID: 19057641
6.  Human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in eleven countries: diagnostic pattern across time, 1993–2002 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:278.
Background
The objective of this study was to describe the diagnostic panorama of human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies across 11 countries.
Methods
From data collected for surveillance purposes, we describe annual proportions of deaths due to different human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in eleven EUROCJD-consortium countries over the period 1993–2002, as well as variations in the use of diagnostic tests. Using logistic models we quantified international differences and changes across time.
Results
In general, pre-mortem use of diagnostic investigations increased with time. International differences in pathological confirmation of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, stable over time, were evident. Compared to their counterparts, some countries displayed remarkable patterns, such as: 1) the high proportion, increasing with time, of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the United Kingdom, (OR 607.99 95%CI 84.72–4363.40), and France (OR 18.35, 95%CI 2.20–152.83); 2) high, decreasing proportions of iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in France, (OR 5.81 95%CI 4.09–8.24), and the United Kingdom, (OR 1.54 95%CI 1.03–2.30); and, 3) high and stable ratios of genetic forms in Slovakia (OR 21.82 95%CI 12.42–38.33) and Italy (OR 2.12 95%CI 1.69–2.68).
Conclusion
Considerable international variation in aetiological subtypes of human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies was evident over the observation period. With the exception of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in France and the United Kingdom, these differences persisted across time.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-278
PMCID: PMC1665456  PMID: 17096829

Results 1-6 (6)