Involvement of the peripheral nervous system in the pathogenesis of prion diseases is becoming increasingly evident. However, pathologic protease-resistant prion protein deposition in the peripheral nerves of patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has never been demonstrated, to our knowledge.
To determine whether mutated prion protein accumulation could be shown in the peripheral nervous system of patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Three patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Study of the brain, spinal cord, and sciatic and superficial peroneal nerves by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis.
Main Outcome Measure
Demonstration of protease-resistant prion protein accumulation.
In all cases, protease-resistant prion protein accumulation was found in the brain and posterior horns of the spinal cord. In 1 case, protease-resistant prion protein deposits were also evidenced in the dorsal root ganglia and the superficial peroneal nerve.
Protease-resistant prion protein may be found in the peripheral nervous system of some patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. However, a larger series is required to assess the incidence of peripheral nervous system involvement and to discuss the diagnostic usefulness of peripheral nerve biopsy in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.