Advances in the detection of prion protein in peripheral tissues of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patients using paraffin-embedded tissue blotting

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Abstract

The accumulation of PrP(Sc), an abnormal and disease-associated form of the normal prion protein (PrP(c)), within the central nervous system (CNS) is a key pathological feature of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Following limited proteolytic digestion of PrP(Sc), the detection of PrP(res) within lymphoid tissues is a unique characteristic of variant CJD in comparison with other human prion diseases, raising fears of an increased risk of iatrogenic spread. Because levels of PrP(res) in lymphoid tissues are lower than those found in CNS tissue, there is concern that other peripheral tissues may harbour infectivity at levels that current detection systems cannot demonstrate PrP(res). We have modified the paraffin-embedded tissue blot (PET blot), a technique combining immunohistochemistry (IHC), histoblot and Western blotting, for the detection of PrP(res) in paraffin sections in peripheral tissues in variant CJD. Five cases of variant CJD were examined, using a panel of anti-PrP antibodies. In each of these five cases, spleen, tonsil, lymph nodes and dorsal root ganglia showed an increase in the sensitivity and specificity of labelling using the PET blot when compared with optimized PrP(res) IHC methods. Control cases showed no evidence of PrP accumulation in either peripheral or CNS tissues. Autopsy and biopsy brain material from sporadic CJD cases also showed an increased sensitivity of PrP(res) detection with the PET blot, confirming its value as an important diagnostic and research tool in human prion diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-368
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2004

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Avidin
  • Biotin
  • Blotting, Western
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Prions

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