Diffusion-weighted MRI in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: a better diagnostic marker than CSF protein 14-3-3?

J Neuroimaging. 2003 Apr;13(2):147-51.


Two middle-aged patients presented with rapidly progressive dementia and ataxia, nonspecific electroencephalography findings, and negative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein 14-3-3. Both patients underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans that demonstrated abnormalities on diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) sequences, and both were later confirmed to have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. (CJD) by tissue examination. Because a recent position paper from the American Academy of Neurology characterized CSF protein 14-3-3 as a gold standard for clinically diagnosing CJD, the authors reviewed studies of CJD in which DWI-MRI imaging and CSF protein 14-3-3 studies were both performed. Among 19 reported cases of CJD with DWI-MRI lesions, CSF protein 14-3-3 was negative in 6 cases and positive in 2 others. The authors' findings suggest that multifocal cortical and subcortical hyperintensities confined to gray matter regions in DWI-MRI may be a more useful noninvasive diagnostic marker for CJD than CSF protein 14-3-3. These observations provide a compelling rationale for a prospective comparative study.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 14-3-3 Proteins
  • Aged
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / cerebrospinal fluid


  • 14-3-3 Proteins
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase