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1.  Human Prion Diseases in The Netherlands (1998–2009): Clinical, Genetic and Molecular Aspects 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36333.
Prion diseases are rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorders that can be sporadic, inherited or acquired by infection. Based on a national surveillance program in the Netherlands we describe here the clinical, neuropathological, genetic and molecular characteristics of 162 patients with neuropathologically confirmed prion disease over a 12-year period (1998–2009). Since 1998, there has been a relatively stable mortality of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in the Netherlands, ranging from 0.63 to 1.53 per million inhabitants per annum. Genetic analysis of the codon 129 methionine/valine (M/V) polymorphism in all patients with sporadic CJD (sCJD) showed a trend for under-representation of VV cases (7.0%), compared with sCJD cohorts in other Western countries, whereas the MV genotype was relatively over-represented (22,4%). Combined PrPSc and histopathological typing identified all sCJD subtypes known to date, except for the VV1 subtype. In particular, a “pure" phenotype was demonstrated in 60.1% of patients, whereas a mixed phenotype was detected in 39.9% of all sCJD cases. The relative excess of MV cases was largely accounted for by a relatively high incidence of the MV 2K subtype. Genetic analysis of the prion protein gene (PRNP) was performed in 161 patients and showed a mutation in 9 of them (5.6%), including one FFI and four GSS cases. Iatrogenic CJD was a rare phenomenon (3.1%), mainly associated with dura mater grafts. Three patients were diagnosed with new variant CJD (1.9%) and one with variably protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr). Post-mortem examination revealed an alternative diagnosis in 156 patients, most commonly Alzheimer's disease (21.2%) or vascular causes of dementia (19.9%). The mortality rates of sCJD in the Netherlands are similar to those in other European countries, whereas iatrogenic and genetic cases are relatively rare. The unusual incidence of the VV2 sCJD subtype compared to that reported to date in other Western countries deserves further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3340342  PMID: 22558438
2.  Prion protein amyloidosis with divergent phenotype associated with two novel nonsense mutations in PRNP 
Acta Neuropathologica  2009;119(2):189-197.
Stop codon mutations in the gene encoding the prion protein (PRNP) are very rare and have thus far only been described in two patients with prion protein cerebral amyloid angiopathy (PrP-CAA). In this report, we describe the clinical, histopathological and pathological prion protein (PrPSc) characteristics of two Dutch patients carrying novel adjacent stop codon mutations in the C-terminal part of PRNP, resulting in either case in hereditary prion protein amyloidoses, but with strikingly different clinicopathological phenotypes. The patient with the shortest disease duration (27 months) carried a Y226X mutation and showed PrP-CAA without any neurofibrillary lesions, whereas the patient with the longest disease duration (72 months) had a Q227X mutation and showed an unusual Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease phenotype with numerous cerebral multicentric amyloid plaques and severe neurofibrillary lesions without PrP-CAA. Western blot analysis in the patient with the Q227X mutation demonstrated the presence of a 7 kDa unglycosylated PrPSc fragment truncated at both the N- and C-terminal ends. Our observations expand the spectrum of clinicopathological phenotypes associated with PRNP mutations and show that a single tyrosine residue difference in the PrP C-terminus may significantly affect the site of amyloid deposition and the overall phenotypic expression of the prion disease. Furthermore, it confirms that the absence of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor in PrP predisposes to amyloid plaque formation.
PMCID: PMC2808512  PMID: 19911184
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; Prion; Amyloid; Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease; Tau protein; Angiopathy
3.  Incidence and spectrum of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease variants with mixed phenotype and co-occurrence of PrPSc types: an updated classification 
Acta Neuropathologica  2009;118(5):659-671.
Six subtypes of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease with distinctive clinico-pathological features have been identified largely based on two types of the abnormal prion protein, PrPSc, and the methionine (M)/valine (V) polymorphic codon 129 of the prion protein. The existence of affected subjects showing mixed phenotypic features and concurrent PrPSc types has been reported but with inconsistencies among studies in both results and their interpretation. The issue currently complicates diagnosis and classification of cases and also has implications for disease pathogenesis. To explore the issue in depth, we carried out a systematic regional study in a large series of 225 cases. PrPSc types 1 and 2 concurrence was detected in 35% of cases and was higher in MM than in MV or VV subjects. The deposition of either type 1 or 2, when concurrent, was not random and always characterized by the coexistence of phenotypic features previously described in the pure subtypes. PrPSc type 1 accumulation and related pathology predominated in MM and MV cases, while the type 2 phenotype prevailed in VVs. Neuropathological examination best identified the mixed types 1 and 2 features in MMs and most MVs, and also uniquely revealed the co-occurrence of pathological variants sharing PrPSc type 2. In contrast, molecular typing best detected the concurrent PrPSc types in VV subjects and MV cases with kuru plaques. The present data provide an updated disease classification and are of importance for future epidemiologic and transmission studies aimed to identify etiology and extent of strain variation in sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.
PMCID: PMC2773124  PMID: 19718500
Prion protein; Brain mapping; Molecular typing; Neurodegeneration; Classification
4.  Magnetic resonance diagnostic markers in clinically sporadic prion disease: a combined brain magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy study 
Brain  2009;132(10):2669-2679.
The intra vitam diagnosis of prion disease is challenging and a definite diagnosis still requires neuropathological examination in non-familial cases. Magnetic resonance imaging has gained increasing importance in the diagnosis of prion disease. The aim of this study was to compare the usefulness of different magnetic resonance imaging sequences and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the differential diagnosis of patients with rapidly progressive neurological signs compatible with the clinical diagnosis of sporadic prion disease. Twenty-nine consecutive patients with an initial diagnosis of possible or probable sporadic prion disease, on the basis of clinical and electroencephalography features, were recruited. The magnetic resonance protocol included axial fluid-attenuated inversion recovery-T2- and diffusion-weighted images, and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the thalamus, striatum, cerebellum and occipital cortex. Based on the clinical follow-up, genetic studies and neuropathology, the final diagnosis was of prion disease in 14 patients out of 29. The percentage of correctly diagnosed cases was 86% for diffusion-weighted imaging (hyperintensity in the striatum/cerebral cortex), 86% for thalamic N-acetyl-aspartate to creatine ratio (cutoff ≤1.21), 90% for thalamic N-acetyl-aspartate to myo-inositol (mI) ratio (cutoff ≤1.05) and 86% for cerebral spinal fluid 14-3-3 protein. All the prion disease patients had N-acetyl-aspartate to creatine ratios ≤1.21 (100% sensitivity and 100% negative predictive value) and all the non-prion patients had N-acetyl-aspartate to myo-inositol ratios >1.05 (100% specificity and 100% positive predictive value). Univariate logistic regression analysis showed that the combination of thalamic N-acetyl-aspartate to creatine ratio and diffusion-weighted imaging correctly classified 93% of the patients. The combination of thalamic proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (10 min acquisition duration) and brain diffusion-weighted imaging (2 min acquisition duration) may increase the diagnostic accuracy of the magnetic resonance scan. Both sequences should be routinely included in the clinical work-up of patients with suspected prion disease.
PMCID: PMC2759338  PMID: 19755520
prion diseases; magnetic resonance; diffusion-weighted imaging; proton MR spectroscopy

Results 1-4 (4)