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News

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prion transmission via GI procedures

Research reported in the latest issue of Gut supports the use of disease-related prion protein as a quantitative marker of prion infectivity in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease tissues.

News image

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Disease-related prion protein is readily detectable in lymphoreticular tissues in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

However, this is not so in other forms of human prion disease.

The unknown population prevalence of asymptomatic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease infection has led to concerns that secondary transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions will occur through surgical procedures.

To date PrPSc:prion infectivity ratios have not been determined in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

It is unknown whether Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions are similar to experimental rodent prions, where disease-related prion protein concentration typically reflects infectious prion titer.

Tissues contain the maximum and minimum levels of detectable prions
Gut

Professor Colling and colleagues from England investigated prion infectivity in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease tissue containing barely detectable levels of disease-related prion protein.

Transgenic mice expressing only human prion proteins were inoculated with brain or rectal tissue from a previously characterised patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The investigative team noted that these tissues contain the maximum and minimum levels of detectable disease-related prion protein that have been observed in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The team observed efficient transmission of prion infection in transgenic mice inoculated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease rectal tissue containing prion protein at a concentration of 105-fold lower than that in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease brain.

Professor Colling's team concludes, “These data confirm the potential risks for secondary transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions via gastrointestinal procedures and support the use of disease-related prion protein as a quantitative marker of prion infectivity in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease tissues.”

Gut 2007: 56: 90-4
22 December 2006

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