Prion diseases are neurodegenerative disorders resulting from the accumulation of a misfolded isoform of the cellular prion protein (PrPc). They can occur as acquired, sporadic or hereditary forms. Although prion diseases show a wide range of phenotypic variations, pathological features and clinical evolution, they are all characterised by a common unfavourable course and a fatal outcome.
Some variants, such as kuru, have practically disappeared, while others, for example the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) or those attributable to iatrogenic causes, are still in force and pose a challenge to current medicine. There are no definitive pre-mortem diagnostic tests, except for vCJD, where a tonsil biopsy detects 100% of the cases.For this reason, diagnostic criteria dependent on statistical probability have had to be created.
These require complementary examinations, such as an electroencephalogram (EEG) or the detection of 14-3-3 protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Only the pulvinar sign in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been included as a vCJD diagnostic criterion. The present review discusses neuroimaging findings for each type of prion disease in patients with a definitive histopathological diagnosis.
The aim is to define the usefulness of these complementary examinations as a tool for the diagnosis of this family of neurodegenerative diseases.
CITATION Neurologia. 2011 May 27