Quantitative variations in the pathology of 11 cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)

Richard A. Armstrong*, Nigel J. Cairns, J.W. Ironside, Peter L. Lantos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantitative variations in the density and distribution of the vacuolation ('spongiform change'), surviving neurons, and prion protein (PrP) deposits were studied in eight brain regions from 11 cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to study the similarities and differences between cases and to identify the neuropathological variables which could best account for these variations. Two principal components (PC) were extracted from the data accounting in total for 93.4% of the variance; the majority of the variance (90%) being associated with PC1. Some clustering of the 11 cases in relation to PC1 and PC2 was evident. The densities of the vacuolation in the occipital cortex and the molecular layer of the cerebellum were positively and negatively correlated, respectively, with PC1. No significant variation between cases was associated with PrP deposition. These data suggest that vCJD cases have a consistent neuropathological profile characterised by the presence of vacuolation, neuronal loss and PrP deposition in the form of florid and non-florid deposits. However, there are quantitative variations between cases in the development of the vacuolation especially affecting the occipital cortex and cerebellum. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002


  • florid deposits
  • neuropathological variation
  • occipital cortex
  • prion protein (PrP deposits)
  • surviving neurons
  • vacuolation


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