. Risk of Transmissibility From Neurodegenerative Disease-Associated Proteins: Experimental Knowns and Unknowns. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2020 Oct 1; PubMed.

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  1. Asher and colleagues present the conclusions from a working group convened by the National Institute on Aging to evaluate the potential risk of handling proteopathic seeds associated with neurodegenerative diseases. They provide a concise and informative review of key features of three type of seeds (Aβ, tau, and α-synuclein): their misfolding and polymerization propensity, the stability of the resulting aggregates, their ability to “propagate” along neural systems, and the conditions under which they can be transmitted between individuals, including between species.

    We consider this review an excellent complement to the recent publication by our own, similar working group (Lauwers et al., 2020), where we focused on human transmission and, given the available literature, essentially on Aβ seeds. Importantly, both groups concluded that even though iatrogenic transmission of proteopathic seeds can occur under very specific conditions, there is no evidence for such transmission of a neurodegenerative disease other than Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.

    We fully support the recommendations by Asher and colleagues for further investigations regarding the molecular identity of proteopathic seeds and their potential transmission between humans, whether in a research setting or during a medical procedure.

    References:

    . Potential human transmission of amyloid β pathology: surveillance and risks. Lancet Neurol. 2020 Oct;19(10):872-878. Epub 2020 Sep 16 PubMed.

    View all comments by Bart De Strooper

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  1. NIA Weighs in on Neurodegenerative Disease Transmissibility