Atypical creutzfeldt-jakob disease with prpamyloid plaques in white matter: Molecular characterization and transmission to bank voles show the M1 strain signature

Marcello Rossi, Daniela Saverioni, Michele Di Bari, Simone Baiardi, Afina Willemina Lemstra, Laura Pirisinu, Sabina Capellari, Annemieke Rozemuller, Romolo Nonno, Piero Parchi

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Amyloid plaques formed by abnormal prion protein (PrPSc) aggregates occur with low frequency in Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease, but represent a pathological hallmark of three relatively rare disease histotypes, namely variant CJD, sporadic CJDMV2K (methionine/valine at PRNP codon 129, PrPSc type 2 and kuru-type amyloid plaques) and iatrogenic CJDMMiK (MM at codon 129, PrPSc of intermediate type and kuru plaques). According to recent studies, however, PrP-amyloid plaques involving the subcortical and deep nuclei white matter may also rarely occur in CJDMM1 (MM at codon 129 and PrPSc type 1), the most common CJD histotype. To further characterize the phenotype of atypical CJDMM1 with white matter plaques (p-CJDMM1) and unravel the basis of amyloid plaque formation in such cases, we compared clinical and histopathological features and PrPSc physicochemical properties between 5 p-CJDMM1 and 8 typical CJDMM1 brains lacking plaques. Furthermore, transmission properties after bioassay in two genetic lines of bank voles were also explored in the two groups. All 5 p-CJDMM1 cases had a disease duration longer than one year. Three cases were classified as sporadic CJDMM1, one as sporadic CJDMM1 + 2C and one as genetic CJDE200K-MM1. Molecular mass, protease sensitivity and thermosolubilization of PrPSc aggregates did not differ between p-CJDMM1 and classical CJDMM1 cases. Likewise, transmission properties such as incubation time, lesion profile and PrPSc properties in bank voles also matched in the two groups. The present data further define the clinical-pathologic phenotype of p-CJDMM1, definitely establish it as a distinctive CJD histotype and demonstrate that PrP-plaque formation in this histotype is not a strain-specific feature. Since cases lacking amyloid plaques may also manifest a prolonged (i.e. > than one year) disease course, unidentified, host-specific factors likely play a significant role, in addition to disease duration, in generating white matter PrP-amyloid plaques in p-CJDMM1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number87
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2017


  • Amyloid plaques
  • Axonal damage
  • CJD
  • Classification
  • PrP types
  • Prion
  • White matter

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