Prion encephalopathy with insertion of octapeptide repeats: The number of repeats determines the type of cerebellar deposits

C. Vital, F. Gray, A. Vital, P. Parchi, S. Capellari, R. B. Petersen, X. Ferrer, D. Jarnier, J. Julien, P. Gambetti

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We studied modifications of the molecular layer of the cerebellum in three patients with octapeptide repeat insertion (OPRI). Two brothers carrying a six-OPRI showed only spongiosis in haematoxylin and eosin preparations (H and E), whereas immunocytochemical examination (ICC) with an antiprion protein (PrP) antibody revealed numerous elongated PrP deposits. The third patient from a family with an eight-OPRI had numerous plaques visible in H and E preparations and had been diagnosed as Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome. So far, 15 other cases from seven families and three individual cases with OPRI have undergone neuropathological examination. Characteristic PrP deposits were seen in six other cases, two isolated cases with a four- and a seven-OPRI, whereas four cases with a six-OPRI came from three different families. Such deposits have never been reported in other cases of prion encephalopathy, without OPRI. Genuine plaques were observed in five out of the 15 other patients. Interestingly, four had an eight-OPRI and one a nine-OPRI. Cases with OPRI are prone to develop different PrP deposits: those only visible on ICC are not to be confused with genuine plaques visible in H and E preparations. Elongated PrP deposits are present in cases with a four- to seven-OPRI, whereas plaques are present when there is an eight- or a nine-OPRI. All these cases should be termed prion encephalopathy with OPRI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Prion protein
  • Spongiform encephalopathy


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