Quantification of the pathological changes with laminar depth in the cortex in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Richard A. Armstrong, Peter L. Lantos, Nigel J. Cairns

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The laminar distribution of the vacuolation ('spongiform change'), surviving neurons, glial cell nuclei, and prion protein (PrP) deposits was studied in the frontal, parietal and temporal cortex in 11 cases of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The distribution of the vacuolation was mainly bimodal with peaks of density in the upper and lower cortical laminae. The density of surviving neurons was greatest in the upper cortex while glial cell nuclei were distributed largely in the lower cortex. PrP deposits exhibited either a bimodal distribution or reached a maximum density in the lower cortex. The vertical density of the vacuoles was positively correlated with the surviving neurons in 12/44 of cortical areas studied, with glial cell nuclei in 16/44 areas and with PrP deposition in 15/28 areas. PrP deposits were positively correlated with glial cell nuclei in 12/31 areas. These results suggest that in sporadic CJD: (1) the lower cortical laminae are the most affected by the pathological changes; (2) the development of the vacuolation may precede that of the extracellular PrP deposits and the glial cell reaction; and (3) the pathological changes may develop initially in the lower cortical laminae and spread to affect the upper cortical laminae. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2001


  • cortico-cortical pathways
  • glial cells
  • laminar distribution
  • prion protein deposits
  • vacuolation


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