Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in three growth hormone recipients: a neuropathological study

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 1994 Apr;20(2):111-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.1994.tb01169.x.


Since 1985, several cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, occurring after a treatment by human cadaveric hormone have been reported. Three new iatrogenic cases observed in French patients (two children and one young adult) are described here. Neuropathological study displayed the classical aspects of previously reported sporadic cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in adults, including severe cortical spongiform change with numerous vacuoles within neuronal dendrites, diffuse astrogliosis and neuronal loss. In addition, the iatrogenic cases described here included two more unusual points: (i) they were homozygotic for the PrP gene on codon 129 and therefore a genetic predisposition could be suspected; (ii) numerous kuru plaques were scattered in the cerebral cortex, the subcortical white matter and in the cerebellar cortex. They were decorated with a PrP monoclonal antibody, but not with a beta A4 antibody. This last point underlines the similarities between iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and kuru.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amyloid Neuropathies / etiology
  • Amyloid Neuropathies / pathology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / etiology*
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / genetics
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / pathology
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / adverse effects*
  • Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Growth Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron


  • Growth Hormone