The spatial patterns of prion protein deposits in cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Richard A. Armstrong, N. Cairns, J. Ironside, P. Lantos

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The spatial patterns of the prion protein (PrP) deposits were studied in immunostained sections of areas of the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, dentate gyrus, and the molecular layer of the cerebellum in 11 cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Clustering of PrP deposits, with a regular distribution of the clusters parallel to the tissue boundary, was the most common spatial pattern observed. Two morphological types of PrP deposit were recognised, those consisting of a condensed core (florid deposits) and those deposits lacking a condensed core (non-florid deposits). The florid and non-florid PrP deposits exhibited a different profile of spatial patterns. First, the florid deposits exhibited a regularly distributed pattern of clusters more frequently than the non-florid deposits. Second, the florid deposits formed larger clusters (greater than1,600 µm in diameter) less frequently than the non-florid deposits. In the areas of the cerebral cortex that exhibited a regular distribution of PrP deposit clusters, the cluster size of the deposits approximated that of the groups of cells of the cortico-cortical pathway origin in only 12% of analyses. No significant differences in the frequency of the different types of spatial pattern were observed in different brain regions, or in the cerebral cortex between the upper and lower laminae. It was concluded that the spatial patterns of the PrP deposits in the cerebral cortex in vCJD are unlikely to reflect the degeneration of the cortico-cortical pathways as has been reported in sporadic CJD (sCJD). In addition, different factors could be involved in the development of the deposits with and without a condensed core.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-669
Number of pages5
JournalActa Neuropathologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


  • variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • non-florid deposits
  • florid deposits
  • clusterin
  • cerebral cortex


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