Molecular characterization of the danish prion diseases cohort with special emphasis on rare and unique cases

Aušrine Areškevičiute, Helle Broholm, Linea C. Melchior, Anna Bartoletti-Stella, Piero Parchi, Sabina Capellari, David Scheie, Eva L. Lund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to perform an updated reclassification of all definite prion disease cases with available fresh-frozen samples referred to the Danish Reference Center over the past 40 years, putting a special emphasis on the molecular characterization of novel disease subtypes. Investigation of the Danish prion diseases cohort revealed rare sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cases with mixed subtypes and subtypes with previously uncharacterized white matter plaques, a new case of sporadic fatal insomnia, and 3 novel mutations, including 2 large octapeptide repeat insertions, and a point mutation in the prion protein gene. The evaluation of methionine and valine distribution at codon 129 among the prion disease patients in the cohort revealed the increased prevalence of methionine homozygotes compared to the general population. This observation was in line with the prevalence reported in other Caucasian prion disease cohort studies. Reclassification of the old prion diseases cohort revealed unique cases, the molecular characterization of which improves prion diseases classification, diagnostic accuracy, genetic counseling of affected families, and the understanding of disease biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-992
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Classification of prion diseases
  • Molecular characterization
  • Octapeptide repeat insertions
  • Prion protein gene
  • Prions
  • Sporadic fatal insomnia
  • White matter Kuru plaques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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