Scientists detect pathological prion protein in skin of CJD patients

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Researchers have found that it was possible to detect abnormal prion protein in the skin of 23 people who died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). They also found that exposing mice to skin tissue taken from the CJD patients caused them to develop prion disease.

The brain of a patient who died from sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD) seems to be nearly identical to that of a mouse inoculated with the infectious prions extracted from the skin of patients who died from CJD. Credit: Case Western Reserve University

The study has raised questions about the possibility of prion diseases being transmitted during medical procedures that involve the skin, as well as the possibility of using skin samples to detect the diseases.

The study was conducted by scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and various other collaborating groups.

Generally, people associate prion diseases with the brain, although it has been shown that clusters of the abnormal prion protein, which cause sponge-like holes in the brain, can accumulate in other organs including the liver, spleen, lungs and kidney. It is known that Sporadic CJD, which is the most common human prion disease, can be transmitted via invasive medical procedures involving the central nervous system and cornea, but transmission via the skin has not generally been considered a concern.

For the study, Byron Caughey, senior investigator at NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) and colleagues used a prion disease test called Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) to analyse skin extracts taken from 38 patients, 23 of whom who had died from CJD, and 15 of whom died from other causes. They also tested brain tissue taken from the CJD patients and from seven patients who had died from other causes.

As reported in Science Translational Medicine, the RT-QuIC test correctly identified the abnormal prion protein in all samples taken from the CJD patients and detected none in the patients who did not have CJD.

The team then inoculated 12 mice with brain tissue and 12 with skin tissue from two of the CJD patients and found that all of them developed prion disease, although it took approximately twice as long for the mice exposed to skin tissue to develop the disease.

The authors say the study should trigger discussion about the risk of surgical instruments becoming contaminated and the risk associated with procedures that involve CJD patients, as well as the possibility of using the RT-QuIC as a skin-based diagnostic test for prion diseases in both humans and animals

Our objective has always been to facilitate RT-QuIC testing using the most broadly available and least-invasive sample possible, whether that is blood, skin, nasal brushings, or other samples,"

Byron Caughey, Senior Investigator, NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories

The team is continuing to develop RT-QuIC applications, including research into when and where the abnormal prion protein appears in the skin, as well as how its infectious forms can be inactivated.

Source: https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/nioa-nsa112217.php

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally first developed an interest in medical communications when she took on the role of Journal Development Editor for BioMed Central (BMC), after having graduated with a degree in biomedical science from Greenwich University.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Robertson, Sally. (2018, August 23). Scientists detect pathological prion protein in skin of CJD patients. News-Medical. Retrieved on April 22, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20171123/Scientists-detect-pathological-prion-protein-in-skin-of-CJD-patients.aspx.

  • MLA

    Robertson, Sally. "Scientists detect pathological prion protein in skin of CJD patients". News-Medical. 22 April 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20171123/Scientists-detect-pathological-prion-protein-in-skin-of-CJD-patients.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Robertson, Sally. "Scientists detect pathological prion protein in skin of CJD patients". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20171123/Scientists-detect-pathological-prion-protein-in-skin-of-CJD-patients.aspx. (accessed April 22, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Robertson, Sally. 2018. Scientists detect pathological prion protein in skin of CJD patients. News-Medical, viewed 22 April 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20171123/Scientists-detect-pathological-prion-protein-in-skin-of-CJD-patients.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Blood protein could be a potential biomarker for delayed concussion recovery in children