Publications by authors named "Anna Ladogana"

45 Publications

The importance of ongoing international surveillance for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Nat Rev Neurol 2021 May 10. Epub 2021 May 10.

National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rapidly progressive, fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative disease associated with the accumulation of misfolded prion protein in the CNS. International CJD surveillance programmes have been active since the emergence, in the mid-1990s, of variant CJD (vCJD), a disease linked to bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Control measures have now successfully contained bovine spongiform encephalopathy and the incidence of vCJD has declined, leading to questions about the requirement for ongoing surveillance. However, several lines of evidence have raised concerns that further cases of vCJD could emerge as a result of prolonged incubation and/or secondary transmission. Emerging evidence from peripheral tissue distribution studies employing high-sensitivity assays suggests that all forms of human prion disease carry a theoretical risk of iatrogenic transmission. Finally, emerging diseases, such as chronic wasting disease and camel prion disease, pose further risks to public health. In this Review, we provide an up-to-date overview of the transmission of prion diseases in human populations and argue that CJD surveillance remains vital both from a public health perspective and to support essential research into disease pathophysiology, enhanced diagnostic tests and much-needed treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41582-021-00488-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8109225PMC
May 2021

TREM2 expression in the brain and biological fluids in prion diseases.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 Jun 21;141(6):841-859. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Network Center for Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED), L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain.

Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) is an innate immune cell surface receptor that regulates microglial function and is involved in the pathophysiology of several neurodegenerative diseases. Its soluble form (sTREM2) results from shedding of the TREM2 ectodomain. The role of TREM2 in prion diseases, a group of rapidly progressive dementias remains to be elucidated. In the present study, we analysed the expression of TREM2 and its main sheddase ADAM10 in the brain of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) patients and evaluated the role of CSF and plasma sTREM2 as a potential diagnostic marker of prion disease. Our data indicate that, compared to controls, TREM2 is increased in sCJD patient brains at the mRNA and protein levels in a regional and subtype dependent fashion, and expressed in a subpopulation of microglia. In contrast, ADAM10 is increased at the protein, but not the mRNA level, with a restricted neuronal expression. Elevated CSF sTREM2 is found in sCJD, genetic CJD with mutations E200K and V210I in the prion protein gene (PRNP), and iatrogenic CJD, as compared to healthy controls (HC) (AUC = 0.78-0.90) and neurological controls (AUC = 0.73-0.85), while CSF sTREM2 is unchanged in fatal familial insomnia. sTREM2 in the CSF of cases with Alzheimer's disease, and multiple sclerosis was not significantly altered in our series. CSF sTREM2 concentrations in sCJD are PRNP codon 129 and subtype-related, correlate with CSF 14-3-3 positivity, total-tau and YKL-40, and increase with disease progression. In plasma, sTREM2 is increased in sCJD compared with HC (AUC = 0.80), displaying positive correlations with plasma total-tau, neurofilament light, and YKL-40. We conclude that comparative study of TREM2 in brain and biological fluids of prion diseases reveals TREM2 to be altered in human prion diseases with a potential value in target engagement, patient stratification, and disease monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02296-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8113222PMC
June 2021

Biomarkers and diagnostic guidelines for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Lancet Neurol 2021 03;20(3):235-246

National Reference Center for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany; German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Göttingen, Germany.

Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by misfolded prion proteins (PrP). Effective therapeutics are currently not available and accurate diagnosis can be challenging. Clinical diagnostic criteria use a combination of characteristic neuropsychiatric symptoms, CSF proteins 14-3-3, MRI, and EEG. Supportive biomarkers, such as high CSF total tau, could aid the diagnostic process. However, discordant studies have led to controversies about the clinical value of some established surrogate biomarkers. Development and clinical application of disease-specific protein aggregation and amplification assays, such as real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC), have constituted major breakthroughs for the confident pre-mortem diagnosis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Updated criteria for the diagnosis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, including application of RT-QuIC, should improve early clinical confirmation, surveillance, assessment of PrP seeding activity in different tissues, and trial monitoring. Moreover, emerging blood-based, prognostic, and potentially pre-symptomatic biomarker candidates are under investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30477-4DOI Listing
March 2021

Ring trial of 2nd generation RT-QuIC diagnostic tests for sporadic CJD.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2020 11;7(11):2262-2271

Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana, USA.

Objective: Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assays detect prion-seeding activity in a variety of human biospecimens, including cerebrospinal fluid and olfactory mucosa swabs. The assay has shown high diagnostic accuracy in patients with prion disorders. Recently, advances in these tests have led to markedly improved diagnostic sensitivity and reduced assay times. Accordingly, an algorithm has been proposed that entails the use of RT-QuIC analysis of both sample types to diagnose sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease with nearly 100% accuracy. Here we present a multi-center evaluation (ring trial) of the reproducibility of these improved "second generation" RT-QuIC assays as applied to these diagnostic specimens.

Methods: Cerebrospinal fluid samples were analyzed from subjects with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob (n = 55) or other neurological diseases (n = 45) at multiple clinical centers. Olfactory mucosa brushings collected by multiple otolaryngologists were obtained from nine sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cases and 19 controls. These sample sets were initially tested blindly by RT-QuIC by a coordinating laboratory, recoded, and then sent to five additional testing laboratories for blinded ring trial testing.

Results: Unblinding of the results by a third party indicated 98-100% concordance between the results obtained by the testing of these cerebrospinal fluid and nasal brushings at the six laboratories.

Interpretation: This second-generation RT-QuIC assay is highly transferrable, reproducible, and therefore robust for the diagnosis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51219DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7664259PMC
November 2020

Identification of novel risk loci and causal insights for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: a genome-wide association study.

Lancet Neurol 2020 10 16;19(10):840-848. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Background: Human prion diseases are rare and usually rapidly fatal neurodegenerative disorders, the most common being sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). Variants in the PRNP gene that encodes prion protein are strong risk factors for sCJD but, although the condition has similar heritability to other neurodegenerative disorders, no other genetic risk loci have been confirmed. We aimed to discover new genetic risk factors for sCJD, and their causal mechanisms.

Methods: We did a genome-wide association study of sCJD in European ancestry populations (patients diagnosed with probable or definite sCJD identified at national CJD referral centres) with a two-stage study design using genotyping arrays and exome sequencing. Conditional, transcriptional, and histological analyses of implicated genes and proteins in brain tissues, and tests of the effects of risk variants on clinical phenotypes, were done using deep longitudinal clinical cohort data. Control data from healthy individuals were obtained from publicly available datasets matched for country.

Findings: Samples from 5208 cases were obtained between 1990 and 2014. We found 41 genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and independently replicated findings at three loci associated with sCJD risk; within PRNP (rs1799990; additive model odds ratio [OR] 1·23 [95% CI 1·17-1·30], p=2·68 × 10; heterozygous model p=1·01 × 10), STX6 (rs3747957; OR 1·16 [1·10-1·22], p=9·74 × 10), and GAL3ST1 (rs2267161; OR 1·18 [1·12-1·25], p=8·60 × 10). Follow-up analyses showed that associations at PRNP and GAL3ST1 are likely to be caused by common variants that alter the protein sequence, whereas risk variants in STX6 are associated with increased expression of the major transcripts in disease-relevant brain regions.

Interpretation: We present, to our knowledge, the first evidence of statistically robust genetic associations in sporadic human prion disease that implicate intracellular trafficking and sphingolipid metabolism as molecular causal mechanisms. Risk SNPs in STX6 are shared with progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurodegenerative disease associated with misfolding of protein tau, indicating that sCJD might share the same causal mechanisms as prion-like disorders.

Funding: Medical Research Council and the UK National Institute of Health Research in part through the Biomedical Research Centre at University College London Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30273-8DOI Listing
October 2020

Comparison between plasma and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for the early diagnosis and association with survival in prion disease.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020 11 14;91(11):1181-1188. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

IRCCS Istituto Delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Objective: To compare the diagnostic accuracy and the prognostic value of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tests across prion disease subtypes.

Methods: We used a single-molecule immunoassay to measure tau and neurofilament light chain (NfL) protein levels in the plasma and assessed CSF total(t)-tau, NfL and protein 14-3-3 levels in patients with prion disease (n=336), non-prion rapidly progressive dementias (n=106) and non-neurodegenerative controls (n=37). We then evaluated each plasma and CSF marker for diagnosis and their association with survival, taking into account the disease subtype, which is a strong independent prognostic factor in prion disease.

Results: Plasma tau and NfL concentrations were higher in patients with prion disease than in non-neurodegenerative controls and non-prion rapidly progressive dementias. Plasma tau showed higher diagnostic value than plasma NfL, but a lower accuracy than the CSF proteins t-tau and 14-3-3. In the whole prion cohort, both plasma (tau and NfL) and CSF (t-tau, 14-3-3 and NfL) markers were significantly associated with survival and showed similar prognostic values. However, the intrasubtype analysis revealed that only CSF t-tau in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) MM(V)1, plasma tau and CSF t-tau in sCJD VV2, and plasma NfL in slowly progressive prion diseases were significantly associated with survival after accounting for covariates.

Conclusions: Plasma markers have lower diagnostic accuracy than CSF biomarkers. Plasma tau and NfL and CSF t-tau are significantly associated with survival in prion disease in a subtype-specific manner and can be used to improve clinical trial stratification and clinical care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-323826DOI Listing
November 2020

Genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Sardinia: a case series linked to the PRNP R208H mutation due to a single founder effect.

Neurogenetics 2020 10 26;21(4):251-257. Epub 2020 May 26.

SC Neurologia AOU Policlinico di Monserrato, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.

In genetic prion diseases (gPrD), five genetic variants (E200K, V210I, V180I, P102L, and D178N) are responsible for about 85% of cases. The R208H is one of the several additional rare mutations and to date, only 16 cases carrying this mutation have been reported worldwide. To describe the phenotypic features of 5 affected patients belonging to apparently unrelated Sardinian (Italian) families with R208H gPrD, and provide evidence for a possible founder effect are the aims of this study. The R208H PRNP mutation has a much higher relative frequency in Sardinia than elsewhere in Italy (72% vs. 4.4% of gCJD cases). Our cohort shared similar phenotypic features to the previously described patients with R208H-129M haplotype with most patients showing the classical Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) phenotype. The analysis of 10 controls and 5 patients by NGS sequencing identified 4 haplotypes, 3 associated with the wild type variant, and one (H1) shared by all patients carrying the 208His variant. This is the first report of a regional cluster for R208H mutation in gPrD and the first report of the presence of a common ancestor for this Sardinian R208H cluster, confirming the probable consequences of genetic isolation process even for rare diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10048-020-00618-1DOI Listing
October 2020

Ultrasensitive RT-QuIC assay with high sensitivity and specificity for Lewy body-associated synucleinopathies.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 07 27;140(1):49-62. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

IRCCS, Istituto Delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

The clinical diagnosis of synucleinopathies, including Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and multiple system atrophy (MSA), is challenging, especially at an early disease stage, due to the heterogeneous and often non-specific clinical manifestations. The discovery of reliable specific markers for synucleinopathies would consequently be of great aid to the diagnosis and management of these disorders. Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) is an ultrasensitive technique that has been previously used to detect self-templating amyloidogenic proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and other biospecimens in prion disease and synucleinopathies. Using a wild-type recombinant α-synuclein as a substrate, we applied RT-QuIC to a large cohort of 439 CSF samples from clinically well-characterized, or post-mortem verified patients with parkinsonism or dementia. Of significance, we also studied patients with isolated REM sleep behavior disorder (iRBD) (n = 18) and pure autonomic failure (PAF) (n = 28), representing clinical syndromes that are often caused by a synucleinopathy, and may precede the appearance of parkinsonism or cognitive decline. The results show that our RT-QuIC assay can accurately detect α-synuclein seeding activity across the spectrum of Lewy Body (LB)-related disorders (LBD), including DLB, PD, iRBD, and PAF, with an overall sensitivity of 95.3%. In contrast, all but two patients with MSA showed no α-synuclein seeding activity in the applied experimental setting. The analysis of the fluorescence response reflecting the amount of α-synuclein seeds revealed no significant differences between the clinical syndromes associated with LB pathology. Finally, the assay demonstrated 98% specificity in a neuropathological cohort of 101 cases lacking LB pathology. In conclusion, α-synuclein RT-QuIC provides an accurate marker of synucleinopathies linked to LB pathology and may have a pivotal role in the early discrimination and management of affected patients. The finding of no α-synuclein seeding activity in MSA seems to support the current view that MSA and LBD are associated with different conformational strains of α-synuclein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02160-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7299922PMC
July 2020

Diagnostic Accuracy of Prion Disease Biomarkers in Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Biomolecules 2020 02 12;10(2). Epub 2020 Feb 12.

Department of Neurology, National Reference Center for CJD Surveillance, University Medical Centre Göttingen, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.

Human prion diseases are classified into sporadic, genetic, and acquired forms. Within this last group, iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (iCJD) is caused by human-to-human transmission through surgical and medical procedures. After reaching an incidence peak in the 1990s, it is believed that the iCJD historical period is probably coming to an end, thanks to lessons learnt from past infection sources that promoted new prion prevention and decontamination protocols. At this point, we sought to characterise the biomarker profile of iCJD and compare it to that of sporadic CJD (sCJD) for determining the value of available diagnostic tools in promptly recognising iCJD cases. To that end, we collected 23 iCJD samples from seven national CJD surveillance centres and analysed the electroencephalogram and neuroimaging data together with a panel of seven CSF biomarkers: 14-3-3, total tau, phosphorylated/total tau ratio, alpha-synuclein, neurofilament light, YKL-40, and real-time quaking induced conversion of prion protein. Using the cut-off values established for sCJD, we found the sensitivities of these biomarkers for iCJD to be similar to those described for sCJD. Given the limited relevant information on this issue to date, the present study validates the use of current sCJD biomarkers for the diagnosis of future iCJD cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biom10020290DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7072321PMC
February 2020

α-Synuclein RT-QuIC assay in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with dementia with Lewy bodies.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2019 10 10;6(10):2120-2126. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine, and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Policlinico G. B. Rossi, Verona, Italy.

We applied RT-QuIC assay to detect α-synuclein aggregates in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease who had a neuropathological diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) (n = 7), other neurodegenerative diseases with α-synuclein mixed pathology (n = 20), or without Lewy-related pathology (n = 49). The test had a sensitivity of 92.9% and specificity of 95.9% in distinguishing α-synucleinopathies from non-α-synucleinopathies. When performed in the CSF of patients with DLB (n = 36), RT-QuIC was positive in 17/20 with probable DLB, 0/6 with possible DLB, and 0/10 with Alzheimer disease. These results indicate that RT-QuIC for α-synuclein is an accurate test for DLB diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.50897DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6801172PMC
October 2019

Spatial Epidemiology of Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in Apulia, Italy.

Neuroepidemiology 2020 27;54(1):83-90. Epub 2019 Sep 27.

Department of Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy,

Background: Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare neurodegenerative disease caused by prions that is randomly distributed in all countries, with an overall yearly mortality rate of about 1-2 cases per million people. On a few occasions, however, sporadic CJD occurred with higher than expected rates, but further investigations failed to recognize any convincing causal link. In Italy, cluster analyses of sporadic CJD cases have not been performed previously.

Objective: To investigate the geographical distribution of sporadic CJD using municipality geographical data of Apulia with the aim of detecting spatial clusters of disease.

Patients And Methods: Patients included in this study were diagnosed as probable or definite sporadic CJD and were residents of the Apulia Region (Italy). Bayesian hierarchical models with spatially structured and unstructured random components were used to describe the spatial pattern of the disease and to assess the extent of heterogeneity among municipalities. The Kulldorff-Nagarwalla scan test and the flexible spatial scan statistic were used for detecting spatial clusters.

Results: Smoothed Bayesian relative risks above the null value were observed in a few adjacent municipalities in the north and middle areas of Apulia. However, both the circular scanning method and the flexible spatial scan statistic identified only a single cluster in the central part of the region.

Conclusion: Geographical analyses and tests for spatial randomness identified a restricted area with an unusually high number of sporadic CJD cases in the Apulia region of Italy. Environmental and genetic risk factors other than mutations in the prion protein gene however, need to be investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000503234DOI Listing
February 2021

Prion-related peripheral neuropathy in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2019 04 24;90(4):424-427. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Objective: To assess whether the involvement of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) belongs to the phenotypic spectrum of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD).

Methods: We examined medical records of 117 sCJDVV2 (ataxic type), 65 sCJDMV2K (kuru-plaque type) and 121 sCJDMM(V)1 (myoclonic type) subjects for clinical symptoms, objective signs and neurophysiological data. We reviewed two diagnostic nerve biopsies and looked for abnormal prion protein (PrP) by western blotting and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) in postmortem PNS samples from 14 subjects.

Results: Seventy-five (41.2%) VV2-MV2K patients, but only 11 (9.1%) MM(V)1, had symptoms or signs suggestive of PNS involvement occurring at onset in 18 cases (17 VV2-MV2K, 9.3%; and 1 MM(V)1, 0.8%) and isolated in 6. Nerve biopsy showed a mixed predominantly axonal and demyelinating neuropathy in two sCJDMV2K. Electromyography showed signs of neuropathy in half of the examined VV2-MV2K patients. Prion RT-QuIC was positive in all CJD PNS samples, whereas western blotting detected PrP in the sciatic nerve in one VV2 and one MV2K.

Conclusions: Peripheral neuropathy, likely related to PrP deposition, belongs to the phenotypic spectrum of sCJDMV2K and VV2 and may mark the clinical onset. The significantly lower prevalence of PNS involvement in typical sCJDMM(V)1 suggests that the PNS tropism of sCJD prions is strain dependent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2018-319221DOI Listing
April 2019

Cerebrospinal Fluid Total Prion Protein in the Spectrum of Prion Diseases.

Mol Neurobiol 2019 Apr 30;56(4):2811-2821. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Department of Neurology, University Medical School, Göttingen, Germany.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) total prion protein (t-PrP) is decreased in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). However, data on the comparative signatures of t-PrP across the spectrum of prion diseases, longitudinal changes during disease progression, and levels in pre-clinical cases are scarce. T-PrP was quantified in neurological diseases (ND, n = 147) and in prion diseases from different aetiologies including sporadic (sCJD, n = 193), iatrogenic (iCJD, n = 12) and genetic (n = 209) forms. T-PrP was also measured in serial lumbar punctures obtained from sCJD cases at different symptomatic disease stages, and in asymptomatic prion protein gene (PRNP) mutation carriers. Compared to ND, t-PrP concentrations were significantly decreased in sCJD, iCJD and in genetic prion diseases associated with the three most common mutations E200K, V210I (associated with genetic CJD) and D178N-129M (associated with fatal familial insomnia). In contrast, t-PrP concentrations in P102L mutants (associated with the Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome) remained unaltered. In serial lumbar punctures obtained at different disease stages of sCJD patients, t-PrP concentrations inversely correlated with disease progression. Decreased mean t-PrP values were detected in asymptomatic D178-129M mutant carriers, but not in E200K and P102L carriers. The presence of low CSF t-PrP is common to all types of prion diseases regardless of their aetiology albeit with mutation-specific exceptions in a minority of genetic cases. In some genetic prion disease, decreased levels are already detected at pre-clinical stages and diminish in parallel with disease progression. Our data indicate that CSF t-PrP concentrations may have a role as a pre-clinical or early symptomatic diagnostic biomarker in prion diseases as well as in the evaluation of therapeutic interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-018-1251-1DOI Listing
April 2019

Age at onset of genetic (E200K) and sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseases is modulated by the gene.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2018 12 21;89(12):1243-1249. Epub 2018 Jul 21.

Department of Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma, Italy

Objectives: The Glu to Lys change at codon 200 (E200K) of the gene is the most frequent mutation associated to genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and the only one responsible for geographical clusters. Patients carrying this mutation develop disease at different ages and show variable clinical phenotypes that are not affected by the methione/valine polymorphism at codon 129 of the gene suggesting the influence of other factors. The objective of this study is to look for genes other than that might be responsible of this variability.

Methods: We searched for other genes by performing genome-wide analyses (GWA) on 19 patients with genetic CJD and 18 healthy subjects carrying the E200K mutation of and belonging to the Calabrian cluster in Italy. We then validate this result in 32 patients with E200K CJD from non-cluster areas and 259 patients with sporadic CJD referred to the Italian CJD national registry.

Results And Conclusions: We identified two single nucleotide polymorphisms on the  gene locus as candidate disease modifiers in patients with E200K CJD of the cluster area and confirmed this finding in 32 patients with E200K CJD from non-cluster areas and 259 patients with sporadic CJD. Our results indicate that the  gene modulates the onset of disease in patients with E200K genetic and sporadic CJD. This finding improves our understanding on the pathogenesis of CJD, suggests new targets for developing novel therapeutic strategies and might be useful for the stratification of patients in future preventive treatment trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2018-318756DOI Listing
December 2018

Genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Handb Clin Neurol 2018 ;153:219-242

Institute of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna and Austrian Reference Center for Human Prion Diseases, Vienna, Austria; and Hungarian Reference Center for Human Prion Diseases, Budapest, Hungary. Electronic address:

Genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is associated with mutations in the human PrP gene (PRNP) on chromosome 20p12-pter. Pathogenic mutations have been identified in 10-15% of all CJD patients, who often have a family history of autosomal-dominant pattern of inheritance and variable penetrance. However, the use of genetic tests implemented by surveillance networks all over the world increasingly identifies unexpectedly PRNP mutations in persons apparently presenting with a sporadic form of CJD. A high phenotypic variability was reported in genetic prion diseases, which partly overlap with the features of sporadic CJD. Here we review recent advances on the epidemiologic, clinical, and neuropathologic features of cases that phenotypically resemble CJD linked to point and insert mutations of the PRNP gene. Multidisciplinary studies are still required to understand the phenotypic spectrum, penetrance, and significance of PRNP mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-63945-5.00013-1DOI Listing
September 2018

Cerebrospinal fluid neurofilament light levels in neurodegenerative dementia: Evaluation of diagnostic accuracy in the differential diagnosis of prion diseases.

Alzheimers Dement 2018 06 3;14(6):751-763. Epub 2018 Feb 3.

Network Center for Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, (CIBERNED), Institute Carlos III, Ministry of Health, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Introduction: Neurofilament light (NFL) levels in the cerebrospinal fluid are increased in several neurodegenerative dementias. However, their diagnostic accuracy in the differential diagnostic context is unknown.

Methods: Cerebrospinal fluid NFL levels were quantified in nonprimarily neurodegenerative neurological and psychiatric diseases (n = 122), mild cognitive impairment (n = 48), Alzheimer's disease (n = 108), dementia with Lewy bodies/Parkinson's disease dementia (n = 53), vascular dementia (n = 46), frontotemporal dementia (n = 41), sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD, n = 132), and genetic prion diseases (n = 182).

Results: The highest NFL levels were detected in sCJD, followed by vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies/Parkinson's disease dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and mild cognitive impairment. In sCJD, NFL levels correlated with cerebrospinal fluid tau and disease duration. NFL levels were able to differentiate sCJD from nonprimarily neurodegenerative neurological and psychiatric diseases (area under the curve = 0.99, 95% confidence interval: 0.99-1) and from the other diagnostic groups showing cognitive impairment/dementia of a non-CJD etiology (area under the curve = 0.90, 95% confidence interval: 0.87-0.92). Compared to nonprimarily neurodegenerative neurological and psychiatric diseases, NFL was also elevated in genetic prion diseases associated with the E200K, V210I, P102L, and D178N prion protein gene mutations.

Discussion: Increased NFL levels are a common feature in neurodegenerative dementias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2017.12.008DOI Listing
June 2018

The CSF neurofilament light signature in rapidly progressive neurodegenerative dementias.

Alzheimers Res Ther 2018 01 11;10(1). Epub 2018 Jan 11.

Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS) Institute of Neurological Sciences of Bologna, Bellaria Hospital, 40139, Bologna, Italy.

Background: Neurofilament light chain protein (NfL) is a surrogate biomarker of neurodegeneration that has never been systematically tested, either alone or in combination with other biomarkers, in atypical/rapidly progressive neurodegenerative dementias (NDs).

Methods: Using validated, commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits, we measured cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) NfL, total tau (t-tau), phosphorylated tau, and β-amyloid 42 in subjects with a neuropathological or clinical diagnosis of prion disease (n = 141), Alzheimer's disease (AD) (n = 73), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) (n = 35), or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) (n = 44). Several cases with an atypical/rapidly progressive course were included in each group. We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of every CSF biomarker and their combinations by ROC curve analyses.

Results: In each patient group CSF NfL showed higher levels than in control subjects, reaching the highest values in those with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). In the latter, NfL showed a divergent, subtype-specific correlation with t-tau, depending on the degree of subcortical involvement and disease duration. Most significantly, patients with classic sporadic CJD (sCJD) MM1 showed a significantly lower concentration of CSF NfL than those with sCJD MV2, despite the much higher t-tau levels and the more rapid clinical course. High NfL levels were also detected in most atypical CJD cases, showing a disease duration longer than 2 years and/or borderline/negative results in other CSF assays (e.g., 14-3-3, t-tau, and prion real-time quaking-induced conversion). Rapidly progressive/atypical cases showed higher NfL levels than typical patients in FTLD, but not in AD or DLB. NfL showed accuracy similar to that of t-tau in discriminating CJD from other NDs, but it had higher efficacy in differentiating atypical forms, especially in regard to Alzheimer's disease.

Conclusions: The present data indicate that CSF NfL and t-tau levels reflect distinct pathophysiological mechanisms of neurodegeneration and support the clinical use of NfL as a fast screening biomarker for the differential diagnosis of atypical/rapidly progressive NDs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13195-017-0331-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5784714PMC
January 2018

Towards an early clinical diagnosis of sporadic CJD VV2 (ataxic type).

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2017 09 1;88(9):764-772. Epub 2017 Jul 1.

Università di Bologna, Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Neuromotorie, Bologna, Italy.

Introduction: Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) includes a broad spectrum of clinical-pathological subtypes, which complicates the clinical differential diagnosis with other rapidly progressive neurological syndromes.

Aim: To provide a better characterisation of clinical features and results of diagnostic investigations, especially at an early disease stage, in patients with sCJDVV2, the second most common sCJD subtype.

Methods: We evaluated neurological symptoms/signs, and results of brain diffusion-weighted resonance imaging (DW-MRI), electroencephalographic recordings (EEG) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker studies in 120 patients with a definite (n=93) or probable (n=27) diagnosis of sCJDVV2.

Results: All patients presented with prominent cerebellar signs, which were often associated with memory loss and/or oculomotor, visual or peripheral/spinal cord signs. In contrast, dementia was invariably a late finding. All CSF samples were positive for the 14-3-3 protein assay and had total-tau protein levels above 1250 pg/mL. Brain DW-MRI showed hyperintensity of basal ganglia, thalamus and cerebral cortex, respectively in 91.5%, 57.4% and 19.1% of cases. EEG revealed periodic sharp-wave complexes in only 17.8% of cases.

Conclusions: sCJDVV2 should be considered in any patient presenting with a rapidly progressive ataxia, especially when associated with oculomotor, visual or peripheral/spinal cord signs, even in the absence of dementia or myoclonus. CSF assays and brain DW-MRI represent sensitive diagnostic tests, even at an early stage. These data strongly suggest that sCJDVV2 can be clinically diagnosed early and accurately based on clinical data, DW-MRI, CSF assays and codon 129 genotyping and provide the basis for improved and subtype-specific diagnostic criteria of sCJD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2017-315942DOI Listing
September 2017

Prion Strain Characterization of a Novel Subtype of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

J Virol 2017 06 12;91(11). Epub 2017 May 12.

Department of Neurosciences, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

In 2007, we reported a patient with an atypical form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) heterozygous for methionine-valine (MV) at codon 129 who showed a novel pathological prion protein (PrP) conformation with an atypical glycoform (AG) profile and intraneuronal PrP deposition. In the present study, we further characterize the conformational properties of this pathological prion protein (PrP MV), showing that PrP MV is composed of multiple conformers with biochemical properties distinct from those of PrP type 1 and type 2 of MV sporadic CJD (sCJD). Experimental transmission of CJD-MV to bank voles and gene-targeted transgenic mice carrying the human prion protein gene (TgHu mice) showed unique transmission rates, survival times, neuropathological changes, PrP deposition patterns, and PrP glycotypes that are distinct from those of sCJD-MV1 and sCJD-MV2. These biochemical and experimental data suggest the presence of a novel prion strain in CJD-MV Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is caused by the misfolding of the cellular prion protein, which assumes two different major conformations (type 1 and type 2) and, together with the methionine/valine polymorphic codon 129 of the prion protein gene, contribute to the occurrence of distinct clinical-pathological phenotypes. Inoculation in laboratory rodents of brain tissues from the six possible combinations of pathological prion protein types with codon 129 genotypes results in the identification of 3 or 4 strains of prions. We report on the identification of a novel strain of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease isolated from a patient who carried an abnormally glycosylated pathological prion protein. This novel strain has unique biochemical characteristics, does not transmit to humanized transgenic mice, and shows exclusive transmission properties in bank voles. The identification of a novel human prion strain improves our understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease and of possible mechanisms of prion transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02390-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432879PMC
June 2017

Prion-specific and surrogate CSF biomarkers in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: diagnostic accuracy in relation to molecular subtypes and analysis of neuropathological correlates of p-tau and Aβ42 levels.

Acta Neuropathol 2017 04 15;133(4):559-578. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

The differential diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) from other, sometimes treatable, neurological disorders is challenging, owing to the wide phenotypic heterogeneity of the disease. Real-time quaking-induced prion conversion (RT-QuIC) is a novel ultrasensitive in vitro assay, which, at variance with surrogate neurodegenerative biomarker assays, specifically targets the pathological prion protein (PrP). In the studies conducted to date in CJD, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) RT-QuIC showed good diagnostic sensitivity (82-96%) and virtually full specificity. In the present study, we investigated the diagnostic value of both prion RT-QuIC and surrogate protein markers in a large patient population with suspected CJD and then evaluated the influence on CSF findings of the CJD type, and the associated amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau neuropathology. RT-QuIC showed an overall diagnostic sensitivity of 82.1% and a specificity of 99.4%. However, sensitivity was lower in CJD types linked to abnormal prion protein (PrP) type 2 (VV2, MV2K and MM2C) than in typical CJD (MM1). Among surrogate proteins markers (14-3-3, total (t)-tau, and t-tau/phosphorylated (p)-tau ratio) t-tau performed best in terms of both specificity and sensitivity for all sCJD types. Sporadic CJD VV2 and MV2K types demonstrated higher CSF levels of p-tau when compared to other sCJD types and this positively correlated with the amount of tiny tau deposits in brain areas showing spongiform change. CJD patients showed moderately reduced median Aβ42 CSF levels, with 38% of cases having significantly decreased protein levels in the absence of Aβ brain deposits. Our results: (1) support the use of both RT-QuIC and t-tau assays as first line laboratory investigations for the clinical diagnosis of CJD; (2) demonstrate a secondary tauopathy in CJD subtypes VV2 and MV2K, correlating with increased p-tau levels in the CSF and (3) provide novel insight into the issue of the accuracy of CSF p-tau and Aβ42 as markers of brain tauopathy and β-amyloidosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-017-1683-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5348556PMC
April 2017

Extended and direct evaluation of RT-QuIC assays for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease diagnosis.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2017 02 27;4(2):139-144. Epub 2016 Dec 27.

Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana.

Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) testing of human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is highly sensitive and specific in discriminating sporadic CJD patients from those without prion disease. Here, using CSF samples from 113 CJD and 64 non-prion disease patients, we provide the first direct and concurrent comparison of our improved RT-QuIC assay to our previous assay, which is similar to those commonly used internationally for CJD diagnosis. This extended comparison demonstrated a ~21% increase in diagnostic sensitivity, a 2-day reduction in average detection time, and 100% specificity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.378DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5288466PMC
February 2017

Diagnosis of Human Prion Disease Using Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion Testing of Olfactory Mucosa and Cerebrospinal Fluid Samples.

JAMA Neurol 2017 02;74(2):155-162

Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine, and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Policlinico G. B. Rossi, Verona, Italy.

Importance: Early and accurate in vivo diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is necessary for quickly distinguishing treatable from untreatable rapidly progressive dementias and for future therapeutic trials. This early diagnosis is becoming possible using the real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) seeding assay, which detects minute amounts of the disease-specific pathologic prion protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or olfactory mucosa (OM) samples.

Objective: To develop an algorithm for accurate and early diagnosis of CJD by using the RT-QuIC assay on CSF samples, OM samples, or both.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this case-control study, samples of CSF and OM were collected from 86 patients with a clinical diagnosis of probable (n = 51), possible (n = 24), or suspected (n = 11) CJD and 104 negative control samples (54 CSF and 50 OM). The CSF and OM samples were analyzed using conventional RT-QuIC. The CSF samples underwent further testing using improved RT-QuIC conditions. In addition, the diagnostic performance of a novel, easy-to-use, gentle flocked swab for sampling of OM was evaluated. Data were collected from January 1 to June 30, 2015.

Main Outcome And Measures: Correlations between RT-QuIC results and the final diagnosis of recruited patients.

Results: Among the 86 patients (37 men [43%] and 49 women [57%]; mean [SD] age, 65.7 [11.5] years) included for analysis, all 61 patients with sporadic CJD had positive RT-QuIC findings using OM or CSF samples or both for an overall RT-QuIC diagnostic sensitivity of 100% (95% CI, 93%-100%). All patients with a final diagnosis of non-prion disease (71 CSF and 67 OM samples) had negative RT-QuIC findings for 100% specificity (95% CI, 94%-100%). Of 8 symptomatic patients with various mutations causing CJD or Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome, 6 had positive and 2 had negative RT-QuIC findings for a sensitivity of 75% (95% CI, 36%-96%).

Conclusions And Relevance: A proposed diagnostic algorithm for sporadic CJD combines CSF and OM RT-QuIC testing to provide virtually 100% diagnostic sensitivity and specificity in the clinical phase of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.4614DOI Listing
February 2017

Patient with rapidly evolving neurological disease with neuropathological lesions of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Lewy body dementia, chronic subcortical vascular encephalopathy and meningothelial meningioma.

Neuropathology 2017 Apr 16;37(2):110-115. Epub 2016 Sep 16.

Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare e Neuroscienze, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

We report a case of rapidly evolving neurological disease in a patient with neuropathological lesions of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Lewy body dementia (LBD), chronic subcortical vascular encephalopathy and meningothelial meningioma. The coexistence of severe multiple pathologies in a single patient strengthens the need to perform accurate clinical differential diagnoses in rapidly progressive dementias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/neup.12343DOI Listing
April 2017

Quantifying prion disease penetrance using large population control cohorts.

Sci Transl Med 2016 Jan;8(322):322ra9

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid 28031, Spain.

More than 100,000 genetic variants are reported to cause Mendelian disease in humans, but the penetrance-the probability that a carrier of the purported disease-causing genotype will indeed develop the disease-is generally unknown. We assess the impact of variants in the prion protein gene (PRNP) on the risk of prion disease by analyzing 16,025 prion disease cases, 60,706 population control exomes, and 531,575 individuals genotyped by 23andMe Inc. We show that missense variants in PRNP previously reported to be pathogenic are at least 30 times more common in the population than expected on the basis of genetic prion disease prevalence. Although some of this excess can be attributed to benign variants falsely assigned as pathogenic, other variants have genuine effects on disease susceptibility but confer lifetime risks ranging from <0.1 to ~100%. We also show that truncating variants in PRNP have position-dependent effects, with true loss-of-function alleles found in healthy older individuals, a finding that supports the safety of therapeutic suppression of prion protein expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aad5169DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4774245PMC
January 2016

Revisiting the Heidenhain Variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: Evidence for Prion Type Variability Influencing Clinical Course and Laboratory Findings.

J Alzheimers Dis 2016 ;50(2):465-76

Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Neuromotorie (DiBiNeM), Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

The Heidenhain variant defines a peculiar clinical presentation of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) characterized by isolated visual disturbances at disease onset and reflecting the early targeting of prions to the occipital cortex. Molecular and histopathological typing, thus far performed in 23 cases, has linked the Heidenhain variant to the MM1 sCJD type. To contribute a comprehensive characterization of cases with the Heidenhain variant, we reviewed a series of 370 definite sCJD cases. Eighteen patients (4.9%) fulfilled the selection criteria. Fourteen of them belonging to sCJD types MM1 or MM1+2C had a short duration of isolated visual symptoms and overall clinical disease, a high prevalence of periodic sharp-wave complexes in EEG, and a marked increase of cerebrospinal fluid proteins t-tau and 14-3-3 levels. In contrast, three cases of the MM 2C or MM 2+1C types showed a longer duration of isolated visual symptoms and overall clinical disease, non-specific EEG findings, and cerebrospinal fluid concentration below threshold for the diagnosis of "probable" CJD of both 14-3-3 and t-tau. However, a brain DWI-MRI disclosed an occipital cortical hyperintensity in the majority of examined cases of both groups. While confirming the strong linkage with the methionine genotype at the polymorphic codon 129 of the prion protein gene, our results definitely establish that the Heidenhain variant can also be associated with the MM 2C sCJD type in addition to the more common MM1 type. Likewise, our results highlight the significant differences in clinical evolution and laboratory findings between cases according to the dominant PrPSc type (type 1 versus type 2).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-150668DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4927903PMC
November 2016

Early-onset spastic paraparesis as presenting sign of familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2015 Dec 22;21(12):1479-80. Epub 2015 Oct 22.

Department of Medical, Surgical, Neurological, Metabolic and Aging Sciences, Second University of Naples, Naples 80138, Italy. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parkreldis.2015.10.004DOI Listing
December 2015

Validation of 14-3-3 Protein as a Marker in Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Diagnostic.

Mol Neurobiol 2016 May 7;53(4):2189-99. Epub 2015 May 7.

Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Göttingen and German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)-site Göttingen, Robert-Koch Str. 40, 37075, Göttingen, Germany.

At present, the testing of 14-3-3 protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a standard biomarker test in suspected sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) diagnosis. Increasing 14-3-3 test referrals in CJD reference laboratories in the last years have led to an urgent need to improve established 14-3-3 test methods. The main result of our study was the validation of a commercially available 14-3-3 ELISA next to the commonly used Western blot method as a high-throughput screening test. Hereby, 14-3-3 protein expression was quantitatively analyzed in CSF of 231 sCJD and 2035 control patients. We obtained excellent sensitivity/specificity values of 88 and 96% that are comparable to the established Western blot method. Since standard protocols and preanalytical sample handling have become more important in routine diagnostic, we investigated in a further step the reproducibility and stability of 14-3-3 as a biomarker for human prion diseases. Ring trial data from 2009 to 2013 revealed an increase of Fleiss' kappa from 0.51 to 0.68 indicating an improving reliability of 14-3-3 protein detection. The stability of 14-3-3 protein under short-term and long-term storage conditions at various temperatures and after repeated freezing/thawing cycles was confirmed. Contamination of CSF samples with blood appears likely to be an important factor at a concentration of more than 2500 erythrocytes/μL. Hemolysis of erythrocytes with significant release of 14-3-3 protein started after 2 days at room temperature. We first define clear standards for the sample handling, short- and long-term storage of CSF samples as well as the handling of blood- contaminated samples which may result in artificially elevated CSF levels of 14-3-3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-015-9167-5DOI Listing
May 2016

A genome wide association study links glutamate receptor pathway to sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease risk.

PLoS One 2014 28;10(4):e0123654. Epub 2015 Apr 28.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

We performed a genome-wide association (GWA) study in 434 sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) patients and 1939 controls from the United Kingdom, Germany and The Netherlands. The findings were replicated in an independent sample of 1109 sCJD and 2264 controls provided by a multinational consortium. From the initial GWA analysis we selected 23 SNPs for further genotyping in 1109 sCJD cases from seven different countries. Five SNPs were significantly associated with sCJD after correction for multiple testing. Subsequently these five SNPs were genotyped in 2264 controls. The pooled analysis, including 1543 sCJD cases and 4203 controls, yielded two genome wide significant results: rs6107516 (p-value=7.62x10-9) a variant tagging the prion protein gene (PRNP); and rs6951643 (p-value=1.66x10-8) tagging the Glutamate Receptor Metabotropic 8 gene (GRM8). Next we analysed the data stratifying by country of origin combining samples from the pooled analysis with genotypes from the 1000 Genomes Project and imputed genotypes from the Rotterdam Study (Total n=12967). The meta-analysis of the results showed that rs6107516 (p-value=3.00x10-8) and rs6951643 (p-value=3.91x10-5) remained as the two most significantly associated SNPs. Rs6951643 is located in an intronic region of GRM8, a gene that was additionally tagged by a cluster of 12 SNPs within our top100 ranked results. GRM8 encodes for mGluR8, a protein which belongs to the metabotropic glutamate receptor family, recently shown to be involved in the transduction of cellular signals triggered by the prion protein. Pathway enrichment analyses performed with both Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and ALIGATOR postulates glutamate receptor signalling as one of the main pathways associated with sCJD. In summary, we have detected GRM8 as a novel, non-PRNP, genome-wide significant marker associated with heightened disease risk, providing additional evidence supporting a role of glutamate receptors in sCJD pathogenesis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0123654PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4412535PMC
January 2016