Comparative quantitative neuropathology of the sporadic and variant subtypes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

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  • Richard A. Armstrong

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The objective of the present study was to compare quantitatively the neuropathology of two subtypes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), viz., sporadic CJD (sCJD) and variant CJD (vCJD). The vacuolation (‘spongiform change’), surviving neurons, glial cell nuclei, and deposits of the disease form of prion protein (PrPsc) were quantified in histological sections of the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum in 11 cases of sCJD and 15 cases of vCJD. Three aspects of the quantitative pathology of each histological feature were studied: overall abundance (density or coverage), spatial distribution parallel to the tissue boundary, and laminar distribution across gyri of the cerebral cortex. Overall vacuole density was greater in sCJD than in vCJD in some regions while overall neuronal densities were greater in vCJD. In cerebral cortex, vacuoles and PrPsc deposits were distributed in clusters which exhibited a regular distribution parallel to the pia mater, this type of spatial pattern being more frequent in sCJD than in vCJD. In some cortical gyri there were differences in laminar distribution between subtypes, viz. the vacuolation was more generally distributed across cortical laminae in sCJD, neuronal loss was often greater in upper laminae in vCJD but in lower laminae in sCJD, and PrPsc deposits were more frequently distributed in upper laminae in vCJD but in lower laminae in sCJD. A significant gliosis affected lower cortical laminae in both sCJD and vCJD. Hence, there were differences in degeneration of cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum in sCJD and vCJD, which may reflect variations in disease aetiology and propagation of PrPsc through the brain.


Publication date2015
Publication titleHorizons in neuroscience research
EditorsAndrea Costa, Eugenio Villalba
Place of PublicationHauppauge, NY (US)
PublisherNova science
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63482-382-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-63482-368-5
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameHorizons in neuroscience research


  • Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, Spatial patterns, Laminar distribution, prion protein (PrP) deposition, cortical degeneration

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