A kiss of a prion: new implications for oral transmissibility.

The Journal of Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 5.85). 06/2010; 201(11):1615-6. DOI: 10.1086/652458
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Neurodegenerative diseases are caused by proteinaceous aggregates, usually consisting of misfolded proteins which are often typified by a high proportion of β-sheets, which accumulate in the Central Nervous System. These diseases, including Morbus Alzheimer, Parkinson disease and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs)--also termed prion disorders--afflict a substantial proportion of the human population and as such the etiology and pathogenesis of these diseases has been the focus of mounting research. Although many of these diseases arise from genetic mutations or are sporadic in nature, the possible horizontal transmissibility of neurodegenerative diseases poses a great threat to population health. In this article we discuss recent studies which suggest that the "non-transmissible" status bestowed upon Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases may need to be revised as these diseases have been successfully induced through tissue transplants. Furthermore, we highlight the importance of investigating the "natural" mechanism of prion transmission including peroral and perenteral transmission, proposed routes of gastrointestinal uptake and neuroinvasion of ingested infectious prion proteins. We examine the multitude of factors which may influence oral transmissibility and discuss the zoonotic threats which Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Scrapie may pose resulting in vCJD or related disorders. In addition, we suggest that the 37 kDa/67 kDa laminin receptor on the cell surface of enterocytes, a major cell population in the intestine, may play an important role in the intestinal pathophysiology of alimentary prion infections.
    Prion 01/2011; 5(1):6-9. · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amyloid β (Aβ) is a major causative agent of Alzheime disease. This neurotoxic peptide is generated as a result of the cleavage of the Amyloid-Precursor-Protein (APP) by the action of beta secretase and gamma secretase. The neurotoxicity was previously thought to be the result of aggregation. However, recent studies suggest that the interaction of Aβ with numerous cell surface receptors such as N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), receptor for advanced glycosylation end products (RAGE), P75 neurotrophin receptor (P75NTR) as well as cell surface proteins such as the cellular prion protein (PrP(c) ) and heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) strongly enhances Aβ induced apoptosis and thereby contributes to neurotoxicity. This review focuses on the molecular mechanism resulting in Aβ-shedding as well as Aβ-induced apoptotic processes, genetic risk factors for familial Alzheimer disease and interactions of Aβ with cell surface receptors and proteins, with particular emphasis on the cellular prion protein. Furthermore, comparisons are drawn between Alzheimer disease and prion disorders and the role of laminin, an extracellular matrix protein, glycosaminoglycans and the 37 kDa/67 kDa laminin receptor (LRP/LR) have been highlighted with regards to both neurodegenerative diseases.
    Prion 07/2011; 5(3):126-37. · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The prion protein is a glycoprotein characterized by a folded α-helical structure that, under pathological conditions, misfolds and aggregates into its infectious isoform as β-sheet rich amyloidic deposits. The accumulation of the abnormal protein is responsible for a group of progressive and fatal disorders characterized by vacuolation, gliosis, and spongiform degeneration. Prion disorders are characterized by a triple aetiology: familial, sporadic or acquired, although most cases are sporadic. The mechanisms underlying prion neurotoxicity remain controversial, while novel findings lead to hypothesize intriguing pathways responsible for prion spreading. The present review aims to examine the involvement of the gastrointestinal tract and hypothesizes the potential mechanisms underlying cell-to-cell transmission of the prion protein. In particular, a special emphasis is posed on the mechanisms of prion transmission within the gut and towards the central nervous system. The glycation of prion protein to form advanced glycation end-products (AGE) interacting with specific receptors placed on neighboring cells (RAGE) represents the key hypothesis to be discussed.
    Prion 07/2011; 5(3):142-9. · 1.97 Impact Factor


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Jun 12, 2014