Researchers have strengthened the case that certain medical procedures can transfer amyloid pathology between people. John Collinge and Sebastian Brandner at University College London previously reported finding amyloid plaques and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) in the brains of seven young to middle-aged adults who had died from prion disease. As children, they had been treated with human growth hormone extracted from the pituitary glands of human cadavers; the data then implied that the extracts contained Aβ seeds as well as prions. In the December 13 Nature, researchers led by Collinge now provide direct evidence for this. The authors report that archived vials of the same growth hormone extract given to patients accelerated amyloidosis in transgenic mice. “I was amazed we could seed so easily from this material, which had sat as a dry powder at room temperature for 30 or 40 years. It shows the resistance of these seeds to degradation,” Collinge said in a Nature press briefing.
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