The transmissible spongiform encephalopathies include human diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and kuru as well as animal diseases such as scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The emergence of variant CJD, which is causally related to BSE, has generated much interest in the development of rapid and sensitive diagnostic tests for the pre-mortem diagnosis of CJD. In 1986 two proteins were detected in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with sporadic CJD. These proteins were later demonstrated to be members of the 14-3-3 family, and tests for the detection of CSF 14-3-3 were developed. A number of studies have shown that the detection of CSF 14-3-3 is an accurate test for sporadic CJD, although the results with variant CJD are less promising.

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