Key words Alzheimer’s disease
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) share clinical, neuropathological, and pathogenetic features. To investigate eventual mutual influences, we screened prominently affected neocortex from 110 neuropathologically proven CJD patients for Alzheimer-type pathology with anti-β/A4, Bielschowsky and anti-tau (immuno)stains. The neuropathological classification of Alzheimer-type pathology was made according to the CERAD criteria. Results were controlled by comparison with Alzheimer-type changes in sections from the same cortical areas in 110 sex- and age-matched non-demented control patients. For comparison, the control patients were also classified according to the CERAD neuropathology criteria as if they had been demented. Alzheimer-type tissue changes as in definite and probable CERAD AD occur in 10.9% of the CJD patients and 19.1% of control patients (P = 0.11). The median age of CJD and control patients with CERAD AD is 72 and 68 years, respectively, which differs significantly from the median ages of 64 and 63 years, respectively, in the non-AD/CJD and non-AD control patients. Since CERAD criteria include “presence of other neuropathological lesions likely to cause dementia”, an AD diagnosis in CJD patients (all of whom are demented) is solely based on densities of neuritic plaques. Similar Alzheimer-type changes in even higher frequency, however, are also present in elderly non-demented controls. Thus, the coexistence of Alzheimer-type pathology in CJD most likely represents an age-related change. Deposits of prion protein (PrP) frequently accumulate at the periphery of β/A4 plaques. The presence of β/A4 amyloid in the brain may influence PrP morphogenesis.
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