Degenerative neurological diseases

1. Introduction

Catching spongiform brain disorders form a group of degenerative neurological diseases that affect the cardinal nervous system and occur in worlds and other carnal species ( Hetz et al. , 2003 ) . These diseases include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease ( CJD ) , familial fetal insomnia and Kuru in worlds, Scrapie in sheep and bovine spongiform brain disorder in cowss. Although these diseases have comparatively low prevalence in worlds, catching spongiform brain disorders are incurable and invariably fatal ( Will, 2003 ) .

Catching spongiform brain disorders are characterised by a spongiform visual aspect of the encephalon and nervous tissue. This is caused by vacuolization ( due to accretion of unnatural prion protein ) , astrocytosis, neural loss and plaque formation in some cases ( Vassallo and Herms, 2003 ) . The associated pathogenesis does non arouse any immune response ; this means that it is hard to name. Diagnosis is hence post mortem, although there has been some success when mensurating protein 14-3-3 in cerebrospinal fluid, which is high when there is neural loss ( Collins et al. , 2004 ) .


Cellular PrPC protein molecules are localised on the cell surface and are attached to the lipid bilayer by a C-terminal glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol ( GPI ) ground tackle proteins ( Martins et al. , 2002 ) . Synthesis of PrPC is the same as any other transmembrane protein and involves assembly of the protein in the endoplasmic Reticulum followed by alteration and cyst packaging on the Golgi and bringing of the cyst packaged protein to the cell surface ( Collins et al. , 2004 ) .

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PrPC is a glycoprotein that has two N-linked oligosaccharide glycan sequences ; these sequences affect the glycosylation of the protein, therefore the protein can be as un- , mono- or di-glycosylated ( Vassallo and Herms, 2003 ) .

The cellular prion protein ( PrPC ) was non identified because of its cellular map but due to its engagement in the pathogenesis of catching spongiform brain disorders. The protein is present in high concentrations within the CNS, particularly at synapses ; nevertheless, it is besides expressed at low degrees in non-neuronal tissue, proposing that it has a widespread biological function within the organic structure ( Hetz et al. , 2003 ) .

A figure of maps have been proposed ( Westergard et al. , 2007 ) , nevertheless, the most logical map with concern to transmissible spongiform brain disorders would be that of Cu binding and besides protection from cellular oxidative emphasis within the synaptic cleft. This is consistent with the fact that synaptic pathology and neural is a outstanding characteristic of the catching spongiform encephalopathy disease province.

Hornshaw et Al. ( 1997 ) reported that the cellular prion protein has the ability to adhere up to four Cu ions within the N-terminal part, which contains an octapeptide repetition sequence.

Vassallo and Herms ( 2003 ) proposed that PrPC within the synaptic membrane maintains the degrees of Cu within the synaptic cleft and acts as a buffer if Cu reaches toxic degrees during high synaptic activity. In add-on to this, the neuroprotective function of PrPC suggests that the Cu loaded protein may interact with reactive O species to trip redox-reactions and trip an intracellular kinase molecule, which would so trip downstream Ca signalling Cascadess.


Prion diseases appear to organize from the accretion of unnatural isoforms of prion protein through the conformational transition of the normal cellular signifier of the prion protein ( PrPC ) into an indissoluble, protease-resistant unnatural signifier ( PrPSC ) . The normal signifier has an a-helical secondary construction, whereas the unnatural signifier contains chiefly & A ; szlig ; -sheets, shown in Figure 2, below ( Prusiner, 1998 ) .

Two mechanisms of PrPC to PRPSC transition have been proposed. Prusiner ( 1998 ) proposed the heterodimer theoretical account, where PrPSC binds to PrPC and forms a heterodimer. The normal protein is converted into the unnatural signifier and so dissociates to bring forth active PrPSC monomers. In contrast, the nucleated theoretical account proposed by Lansbury and Caughey ( 1995 ) suggests that PrPSC forms an sum and recruits PrPC molecules into the turning polymer.

In all catching spongiform brain disorders, the accretion of PrPSC in the encephalon leads to neurological devolution. The mechanism by which PrPSC causes the associated pathology of the disease remains elusive ; although three chief hypotheses have been proposed.

Hetz et Al. ( 2003 ) proposes that prion pathology is attributed to toxic addition of map. The misfolded PrPSC protein possesses a neurotoxic activity that may interfere with synaptic map. However, Hetz et Al. ( 2003 ) suggest that the PrPC protein possesses a biological activity that is lost upon transition to PrPSC. Westergard et Al. ( 2007 ) states that this ‘loss of map ‘ hypothesis is non possible due to the consequences obtained from experimental knockdown of the PrPC in mice. It was found that knockdown of PrPC pre and station natally have small phenotypic consequence and do non bring forth any prion like disease pathology.

The concluding hypothesis, suggests that there is a corruption of map. Interaction of PrPC with PrPSC converts the neuroprotective signal transducer into a neurotoxic signal transducer ( Westergard et al. , 2007 ) .


Familial surveies of the PRNP cistron have identified that a individual nucleotide polymorphism at codon 129 determines an person ‘s susceptibleness to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy disease ( Collinge, 1999 ) .

At codon 129 there are two possible familial types, methionine or valine ; as there are two allelomorphs inherited which encode the cellular prion cistron, an person can either be a methionine homozygote, a valine homozygote or a heterozygote.

This of course happening polymorphism tends to hold an consequence on the disease phenotype, such that people with methionine homozygosity nowadays with rapid signifiers of disease, with shorter incubation periods and disease continuance ; whereas those with valine homozygosity or heterozygosity tend to demo a slower disease class and longer incubation periods ( Collinge et al. , 2006 ) .

The bulk of persons who have sporadic CJD or variant CJD have been found to hold the methionine homozygous genotype, table 1. This familial type appears to be an of import factor in finding incubation period and besides overall susceptibleness ( Will, 2003 ) .

Furthermore, in familial signifiers of the disease, a prion mutant coupled with the different polymorphism look gives different disease presentation ( Montagna et al. , 2003 ) . When coupled with methionine at codon 129 the person phenotypically presents with FFI ; whereas matching with valine at codon 129 tends to show as familial CJD ( Montagna et al. , 2003 ) .


Creutzfeldt and Jakob were the first to depict a human spongiform brain disorder in the 1920s ; giving rise to the naming of the most popular catching spongiform brain disorder ( Collins et al. , 2004 ) . Since this happening an increasing figure of catching spongiform brain disorders have been identified and classified as sporadic, familial or acquired.

5.1 Sporadic

5.1.1 Sporadic CJD

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease often presents as a sporadic disease in 90 % of patients ( Collins et al. , 2004 ) . This signifier of the disease is quickly progressive, whereby patients present with dementedness of less than one twelvemonth ‘s continuance. In add-on to this patients present with other neurological abnormalcies, including cerebellar disfunction, doing jobs with motion and cortical sightlessness ; the badness of symptoms present evolves as the disease progresses ( Collins et al. , 2004 ) .

The mean age of oncoming for the disease is 60 ; moreover, it is rare in people under the age of 40 and over the age of 70. Prognosis is hapless, with an mean four month endurance rate after the oncoming of major symptoms ; 90 % of patients which present with sporadic CJD are dead within one twelvemonth ( Johnson, 2005 ) .

The manner of infection for sporadic CJD is unknown ; Harries-Jones et Al. ( 1988 ) reported that there was no addition in incidence of the disease in sawboness, diagnosticians or abattoir workers who have occupational exposure to the cardinal nervous system and septic persons and animate beings.

Johnson ( 2005 ) suggests that sporadic CJD consequences from either endogenous coevals of the PrPSC protein through random misfolding of the normal cellular protein or due to bodily mutant of the PRNP cistron. However, the age specific oncoming can non be explained by either theoretical account ; random misfolding or mutants should happen or roll up throughout life, doing the disease onset addition increasingly with age ( Johnson, 2005 ) .

5.2 Familial

Genetically determined catching spongiform brain disorders tend to happen in approximately 10 % of instances. The familial catching spongiform brain disorders show autosomal laterality of mutants in PRNP ; whereby merely one mutated PRNP cistron demands to be passed on from parent to child ( Johnson, 2005 ) . In add-on to this, they tend to impact both sexes every bit.

In familial signifiers of the disease, the individual nucleotide polymorphism at codon 129 affects the phenotype when located on the mutant allelomorph ; the polymorphism can besides act upon age at oncoming and continuance of the disease when on the normal allelomorph ( Gambetti et al. , 2003 )

5.2.1 Familial CJD

The most common signifier of familial CJD consequences from mutant at codon 200, where is substituted for K. This signifier of the disease cosegregates with the methionine homozygous polymorphism at codon 129 ( Gambetti et al. , 2003 ) .

Familial CJD has an mean oncoming of symptoms at 58 old ages of age, with mean disease continuance of 6 months. Peoples who have the disease normally present with dementedness and some cerebellar marks ( Gambetti et al. , 2003 ) .

Some signifiers of familial CJD besides have a mutant at codon 178 in the cistron, replacing asparagine for aspartic acid ; this mutant cosegragates with valine homozygosity at codon 129. The clinical presentation is normally dysarthria and cerebellar ataxy. This mutant is besides present in familial fatal insomnia but cosegragates with methionine homozygosity at codon 129 ( Gambetti et al. , 2003 )

5.2.2 Familial Fatal Insomnia

Fatal familial insomnia ( FFI ) was first described in 1986 but was non recognised as a novel, genetically determined prion disease until 1992 ( Collins et al. , 2001 ) . Onset of disease is between 31 and 60, with an mean oncoming of 51 old ages old. Illness continuance from oncoming of symptoms is 13-15 months ( Collins et al. , 2004 ) .

The disease is clinically characterised by a broken sleep aftermath rhythm and pathologically characterised by prevailing thalamic devolution ( Montagna et al. , 2003 ) . The thalamus AIDSs in ordinance of the sleep aftermath rhythm ; thalamic devolution and loss of sleep spindles reduces entire sleep clip, affects REM slumber and disrupts the sleep rhythm, shown in Figure X.

Familial analysis of the PRNP cistron has identified a missense mutant at place 178 in the cistron, replacing asparagines for aspartic acid. This missense mutant cosegragates with the methionine homozygous polymorphism at codon 129, giving rise to the pathological presentation of the disease ( Cortelli et al. , 1999 ) . Interestingly, one type of familial CJD has the same missense mutant but this signifier of prion disease is linked to the valine homozygous polymorphism at codon 129 ( Montagna et al. , 2003 ) .

The consequence of the codon 129 polymorphism dictates the localization of function of the lesions and clinical manifestations caused by the codon 178 mutant. Montagna et Al. ( 2003 ) province that this was the first indicant that two distinguishable disease phenotypes were linked to one familial mutant that was determined by a polymorphism on the same mutant allelomorph.

In add-on to this Monari et Al. ( 1994 ) found that the unnatural PrPSC protein differed in size and glycosylation form in FFI and 178CJD. This determination suggests that there are different human prion strains, characterised by the differing isoform conformations and glycosylation forms in each disease, doing the difference in type and localization of function of the PrPSC protein.

5.2.3 Gerstmann-Str & A ; auml ; ussler-Scheinker Syndrome

Gerstmann-Str & A ; auml ; ussler-Scheinker syndrome is a easy progressive disease with oncoming of symptoms from 30-60 old ages of age and a average continuance of unwellness of 5 old ages. This disease presents with a wide spectrum of clinical presentations including cerebellar ataxy, dysarthria and dementedness ( Collins et al. , 2001 ) .

Pathologically, this catching spongiform brain disorder is distinguishable from all other types of disease. Most show spongiform alterations within the encephalon ; nevertheless, Gerstmann-Str & A ; auml ; ussler-Scheinker syndrome nowadayss with widespread amyloid plaque formation, along with some spongiform devolution ( Johnson, 2005 ) .

The most common mutant which causes this disease is at codon 102 where proline is substituted for leucine. However, other mutants have been identified, each cosegregate with the polymorphism at codon 129, with homozygosity of methionine or valine influencing pathogenicity. The mutants and co-segregated polymorphisms are shown in Table 2, below.

Although the assorted mutants have been identified, disease has merely been catching in patients with the most common mutant at codon 102 ; the other less frequent mutants have non been transmitted ( Collins et al. , 2001 ) . Collins et al. , ( 2001 ) suggest that this may be due to the presence of spongiform devolution in the common mutant, which could be related to a peculiar PrPSC isoform.

5.3 Acquired

5.3.1 Iatrogenic CJD

Iatrogenic refers to disease induced unwittingly by a medical intervention or processs ; iatrogenic CJD can happen by inadvertent transmittal of the prion from one homo to another ( Will, 2003 ) .

The first reported instance of iatrogenic CJD was in 1974, where a patient received a corneal transplant from a cadaverous patient that had died of the disease ( Will, 2003 ) . Since this determination legion other mechanisms of CJD infection through the iatrogenic path have been identified. All the transmittals have involved transverse taint with stuff in or near the encephalon where degrees of the PrPSC would be highest ( Johnson, 2005 ) .

Mechanisms by which catching spongiform brain disorders have been transmitted include neurosurgical instruments, deepness electrodes, human growing endocrine from septic persons and human dura affair transplants ( Johnson, 2005 ) . In instances of neurosurgical transmittal, the equipment was sterilised with 70 % methanal and ethanol vapor ; prions are extremely immune to these bactericidal processs. Since grounds of transmittal through this method, a new sterilization protocol has been put in topographic point which involves submergence of the equipment in one molar Na hydrated oxide to demobilize any prions that could be present ( Will, 2003 ) .

The clinical presentation and incubation period of iatrogenic CJD, depends on the beginning of infectivity, as shown in table 3, below. The incubation periods of disease presentation after endocrine replacing and corneal grafts reflects the peripheral path of vaccination as opposed to the more direct path through usage of surgical equipment ( Johnson, 2005 ) .

5.3.2 Variant CJD

5.3.3 Kuru

Kuru was foremost recognised by Western medical specialty in the mid 1950s in Papua New Guinea. Kuru was recognised to be endemic amongst the Fore lingual group and amongst groups whom they inter-married in the Okapa country of the Highlandss of the state ( Collinge et al. , 2006 ) . Kuru in Fore linguistic communication means to shudder ; in add-on to this people with the disease present with cerebellar ataxy

Gadjdusek and Zigas ( 1957 ) conducted an epidemiological survey which identified that transmittal of Kuru was due to cannibalistic rites undertaken as portion of the bereavement procedure for the asleep. It is believed that the endemic originated when a individual who contracted sporadic CJD died and was eaten. The recycling of the mutated prion protein within this population lead to the endemic proportions reached in the mid 1950s ( Collinge, 1999 ) . Woman and kids under the age of 6 were preponderantly affected as they ate the internal variety meats, including the encephalon of the deceased ; whereas males tended to eat less septic tissue, such as the skeletal musculus ( Collins et al. , 2004 ) .

Although horizontal transmittal of the disease through endocannibalistic rites has been extremely demonstrated ; there is no epidemiological grounds to propose perpendicular transmittal of the disease. Pregnant adult females who were diagnostic at assorted phases of the disease hold given birth to kids who have non gone onto manifest the disease ( Collins et al. , 2004 ) .

The cannibalistic rites of the Fore group were prohibited by Australian governments in the late fiftiess and since this the prevalence of the disease has easy declined, nevertheless, the endemic tail is enduring much longer than anticipated ( Collinge et al. , 2006 ) due to familial susceptibleness. Methionine homozygosity at codon 129 in the PRNP cistron increased the hazard of Kuru, ensuing in oncoming of the disease at a much younger age. Children who contracted Kuru and who had the homozygous methionine genotype typically contracted and died from the disease before childhood.

The PRNP codon 129 genotype has shown a profound consequence on the incubation periods of the disease, with methionine-valine heterozygote ‘s and valine homozygote ‘s developing the disease subsequently in maturity, with longer disease incubation ( Collins et al. , 2001 ) . There is clearly a survival advantage of holding the MV or VV genotype in the Fore group ( Collinge et al. , 2006 ) . As a consequence of this, the incubation periods of Kuru during the endemic tail can now be every bit high as 40 old ages.

6. Future Treatment

To day of the month catching spongiform brain disorders can non be treated in worlds and all signifiers of the disease finally consequence in decease. The nucleated hypothesis proposed by Lansbury and Caughey ( 1995 ) suggests that prion infectivity is due to the pathogenically misfolded prion protein, PrPSC, which recruits cellular prion protein through a templet directed procedure.

PrPSC is immune to protease cleavage and possesses high & A ; szlig ; -sheet content, unlike normal PrPC which is protease sensitive with an a-helical construction. Paramithiotis et Al. ( 2003 ) discovered that a difference in the two constructions has lead to coevals of a monoclonal antibody that is selective for an antigenic determinant in the PrPSC protein. The monoclonal antibody selectively binds to a Tyr-Tyr-Arg residue in PrPSC but non in PrPC and elicits an immune response. Paramithiotis et Al. ( 2003 ) suggest that the ground for selective binding to the unnatural prion protein is due to the conformational transition of normal protein to unnatural protein ; conformational alterations are accompanied by surface exposure of antecedently non-exposed amino-acid side ironss.

This determination could take to a possible intervention for spongiform brain disorders utilizing the curative mark. In add-on to this, the theory behind happening the selective antigenic determinant in the PrPSC could besides take to new diagnostic and curative attacks in other neurodegenerative disease provinces where the proteome is affected ( Paramithiotis et al. 2003 ) .

7. Decision

8. Mentions

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  • Lansbury, P. T. and Caughey, B. ( 1995 ) The Chemistry of Scrapie Infection: Deductions of the ‘ice 9’metaphor. Chemistry and Biology, 2 ( 1 ) : 1-5
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