ABSTRACT: Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a group of rare fatal neurodegenerative disorders. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) represents the most common form of TSE and can be classified into sporadic, genetic, iatrogenic and variant forms. Genetic cases are related to prion protein gene mutations but they only account for 10-20% of cases. Here we report an apparently sporadic CJD case with negative family history carrying a mutation at codon 178 of prion protein gene. This mutation is a de novo mutation as the parents of the case do not show it. Furthermore the presence of three different alleles (wild type 129M-178D and 129V-178D and mutated 129V-178N), confirmed by different methods, indicates that this de novo mutation is a post-zygotic mutation that produces somatic mosaicism. The proportion of mutated cells in peripheral blood cells and in brain tissue was similar and was estimated at approximately 97%, suggesting that the mutation occurred at an early stage of embryogenesis. Neuropathological examination disclosed spongiform change mainly involving the caudate and putamen, and the cerebral cortex, together with proteinase K-resistant PrP globular deposits in the cerebrum and cerebellum. PrP typing was characterized by a lower band of 21 kDa. This is the first case of mosaicism described in prion diseases and illustrates a potential etiology for apparently sporadic neurodegenerative diseases. In light of this case, genetic counseling for inherited and sporadic forms of transmissible encephalopathies should take into account this possibility for genetic screening procedures.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics 10/2010; 153B(7):1283-91. · 3.70 Impact Factor