Specificity of lymphoreticular accumulation of prion protein for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

D A Hilton, J Sutak, M E F Smith, M Penney, L Conyers, P Edwards, L McCardle, D Ritchie, M W Head, C A Wiley, J W Ironside

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BACKGROUND: Immunocytochemical accumulation of prion protein (PrP) in lymphoid tissues is a feature of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) that has been used both to aid in the diagnosis of patients and as a basis of large scale screening studies to assess the prevalence of preclinical disease in the UK. However, the specificity of this approach is unknown.

AIM: To assess the specificity of lymphoreticular accumulation of PrP for vCJD by examining a range of human diseases.

METHODS: Paraffin wax embedded lymphoreticular tissues from patients with several reactive conditions (58 cases), tumours (27 cases), vCJD (54 cases), and other human prion diseases (56 cases) were assessed. PrP accumulation was assessed by immunocytochemistry using two different monoclonal anti-PrP antibodies and a sensitive detection system.

RESULTS: All cases of vCJD showed widespread lymphoreticular accumulation of PrP; however, this was not seen in the other conditions examined.

CONCLUSION: Lymphoreticular accumulation of PrP, as assessed by immunocytochemistry, appears to be a highly specific feature of vCJD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-302
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • Blotting, Western
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation
  • Lymphoid Tissue
  • Mononuclear Phagocyte System
  • Neoplasms
  • PrPSc Proteins
  • Prion Diseases
  • Prions
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


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