Disease-associated prion protein is not detectable in human systemic amyloid deposits

G A Tennent, M W Head, M Bishop, P N Hawkins, R G Will, R Knight, A H Peden, L M McCardle, J W Ironside, M B Pepys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Cerebral and cardiac amyloid deposits have been reported after scrapie infection in transgenic mice expressing variant prion protein (PrP(C)) lacking the glycophosphatidylinositol anchor. The amyloid fibril protein in the systemic amyloid deposits was not characterized, and there is no clinical or pathological association between prion diseases and systemic amyloidosis in humans. Nevertheless, in view of the potential clinical significance of these murine observations, we tested both human amyloidotic tissues and isolated amyloid fibrils for the presence of PrP(Sc), the prion protein conformation associated with transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). We also sequenced the complete prion protein gene, PRNP, in amyloidosis patients. No specific immunohistochemical staining for PrP(Sc) was obtained in the amyloidotic cardiac and other visceral tissues of patients with different types of systemic amyloidosis. No protease-resistant prion protein, PrP(res), was detectable by Western blotting of amyloid fibrils isolated from cardiac and other systemic amyloid deposits. Only the complete normal wild-type PRNP gene sequence was identified, including the usual distribution of codon 129 polymorphisms. These reassuringly negative results do not support the idea that there is any relationship of prions or TSE with human systemic amyloidosis, including cardiac amyloid deposition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-83
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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