Alzheimer-type brain pathology after transplantation of dura mater
News Jan 26, 2016
Up to now Alzheimer's disease has not been recognized as transmissible. Now researchers at the University of Zurich and the Medical University Vienna demonstrated Alzheimer-type pathology in brains of recipients of dura mater grafts who died later from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by progressive dementia and brain plaques consisting of the Aβ protein. Conventional wisdom has it that AD is not a transmissible disease. However, plaques recovered from brains of AD patients were repeatedly found to induce further plaques when injected into the brains of laboratory mice, suggesting that transmission may actually occur.
Reporting in the Swiss Medical Weekly, Karl Frontzek and colleagues have investigated individuals who received brain grafts of dura mater during neurosurgery. The dura mater is the leathery membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. Such grafts were necessary to allow the brain to heal after surgery. Tragically, some of the dura mater donors were infected with prions (the agents causing the fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), and the grafting procedure transmitted the disease to the recipients.
Frontzek and colleagues now report the presence of Aβ plaques in 5 of 7 brains of relatively young recipients of dura mater grafts who succumbed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Aβ plaques were detected much more frequently than in brains of people who did not receive any dura mater grafts. Aβ plaques are highly unusual in young individuals and may have been caused by the dural grafts. This study adds to the evidence that the hallmarks of AD may indeed be transmissible under certain circumstances, and calls for heightened attention to an unexpected, potentially very serious problem of transplantation medicine.
Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
Frontzek K et al. Amyloid-β pathology and cerebral amyloid angiopathy are frequent in iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease after dural grafting. Swiss Medical Weekly, Published January 26 2016. doi: 10.4414/smw.2016.14287
Purine Synthesis in Neuron-Like Cells InvestigatedNews
Neuron-like cells created from a readily available cell line have allowed researchers to investigate how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms.READ MORE
All in a Droplet: Atomic Resolution of ALS Protein ResolvedNews
Researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases of muscle and bone.READ MORE
Pupil Size Couples to Cortical States to Protect Deep Sleep StabilityNews
Researchers have found that mice pupil size fluctuates during sleep. They also show that pupil size is a reliable indicator of sleep states.READ MORE