Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease

Paweł P. Liberski

Affiliation and address for correspondence
AKTUALN NEUROL 2011, 11 (1), p. 49-63

Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease (GSS) is a hereditary form of prion disease. GSS, in particular the form caused by the PRNP gene P102L mutation, is transmissible to primates and rodents. Thus, GSS is a unique disease that is both genetic and transmissible; however, the exact nature of the transmissible agent is not clear. The clinical picture of GSS comprises cerebellar ataxia, dementia and pyramidal and extrapyramidal signs and symptoms. However, the disease is heterogeneous and in different families and different mutations the clinical picture may vary. The neuropathological picture is characterized by the presence of amyloid plaques – mainly multicentric plaques. There are several models of GSS in transgenic mice and in Drosophila sp. In mice produced with an overexpressed transgene that carries the P101L mutation (corresponding to the P102L mutation in humans), “spontaneous” neurodegeneration is observed and this, in turn, is transmissible but to transgenic mice with a low copy number. In contrast, P101L transgenic mice produced by means of reciprocal recombination show no spontaneous neurodegeneration, but instead become more susceptible to transmission of human GSS following inoculation.

Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease, GSS, prions, multicentric plaques, prion protein, PrP, Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease

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