Minimal change prion retinopathy: Morphometric comparison of retinal and brain prion deposits in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Experimental eye research

Exp Eye Res. 2022 Sep;222:109172. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2022.109172. Epub 2022 Jul 6.


Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) is the most commonly diagnosed human prion disease caused by the abnormal misfolding of the 'cellular' prion protein (PrPC) into the transmissible 'scrapie-type' prion form (PrPSc). Neuropathologic evaluation of brains with sCJD reveals abnormal PrPSc deposits primarily in grey matter structures, often associated with micro-vacuolar spongiform changes in neuropil, neuronal loss, and gliosis. Abnormal PrPSc deposits have also been reported in the retina of patients with sCJD, but few studies have characterized the morphology of these retinal PrPSc deposits or evaluated for any retinal neurodegenerative changes. We performed histopathologic and morphometric analyses of retinal and brain prion deposits in 14 patients with sCJD. Interestingly, we discovered that the morphology of retinal PrPSc deposits generally differs from that of brain PrPSc deposits in terms of size and shape. We found that retinal PrPSc deposits consistently localize to the outer plexiform layer of the retina. Additionally, we observed that the retinal PrPSc deposits are not associated with the spongiform change, neuronal loss, and gliosis often seen in the brain. The stereotypic morphology and location of PrPSc deposits in sCJD retinas may help guide the use of ocular imaging devices in the detection of these deposits for a clinical diagnosis.

PMID:35803332 | PMC:PMC9946801 | DOI:10.1016/j.exer.2022.109172


Vanessa S Goodwill
Ian Dryden
Jihee Choi
Chiara De Lillo
Katrin Soldau
Jorge Llibre-Guerra
Henry Sanchez
Christina J Sigurdson
Jonathan H Lin