Pathological changes in the primary visual cortex (area V1) in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. To determine the degree of pathological change in the primary visual cortex (area V1) in patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Method. The vacuolation, surviving neurons, glial cells, and deposits of prion protein were quantified in area V1 obtained postmortem in nine cases of the sporadic type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Results. Variations in the density of glial cells and in prion protein deposition were particularly evident between patients. In the upper and lower cortical laminae, vacuoles and prion protein deposits were regularly distributed in clusters with a mean dimensions of 450 to 1000 µm. Vacuolation in area V1 was most severe in lamina III and the glial cell reaction in lamina V or VI. Surviving neurons were most abundant in lamina II or III, whereas prion protein deposition either affected all laminae equally or was maximal in lamina II or III. Conclusion. The data suggest that pathological changes in area V1 in sporadic type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may affect the transmission of visual information from area V1 to V2 and to subcortical visual areas. In addition, the data suggest an association between the developing pathology and the functional domains of area V1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-304
Number of pages7
JournalOptometry and Vision Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003


  • sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • primary visual cortex
  • area V1
  • vacuolation
  • prion protein deposition
  • laminar distribution
  • functional domains


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