Bone marrow stroma cells are susceptible to prion infection

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Dec 19;377(3):957-61. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.10.099. Epub 2008 Oct 29.


Abnormal protease-resistant prion protein (PrP-res) is the only surrogate biochemical marker for prion diseases, and a sensitive technique to detect PrP-res in blood or tissues is urgently needed. Primary cultured bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) expressed PrP and were capable of supporting stable human prion infection. Using a mouse-adapted BSE strain, we demonstrated that PrP-res can be detected in expanded MSCs. We then analyzed the bone marrow cells collected at autopsy from two individuals with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), and, in both cases, cultured MSCs were positive for PrP-res. These data would suggest that ex vivo MSC expansion accompanied by PrP-res analysis could be a helpful tool in the definitive diagnosis of prion disease at an earlier stage in the disease process than is currently possible, and with considerably less distress to the patient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • PrPSc Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism


  • PrPSc Proteins