Kuru Workup

Updated: Feb 17, 2016
  • Author: Zartash Zafar Khan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Workup

Laboratory Studies

No laboratory studies are helpful in diagnosing kuru, except postmortem pathologic evaluation of CNS tissue.

Cerebrospinal fluid 14-3-3 protein, neuronal specific enolase (NSE), and S-100, although not specific for CJD, may be helpful diagnostically in the appropriate clinical context for the diagnosis of CJD. [31] No data suggest the usefulness of these markers in the diagnosis of kuru.

Identification of a distinctive combination of 129M/M genotype, kuru plaques, and intermediate-type PrPSc has been associated with acquired CJD. [32]

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Imaging Studies

No imaging studies are helpful in diagnosing kuru.

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Histologic Findings

Primary changes include vacuoles in nerve cell bodies, dendrites, and axons and reactive swelling and proliferation in astrocytes caused by neuronal damage. [10] Hematoxylin and eosin–stained sections show amyloid plaques. Gliosis and vacuolization are found throughout the gray matter without any well-defined pattern and involve, most consistently, the cerebellum, pons, thalamus, basal ganglia, and the anterior horns of the spinal cord. [33, 20] Plaques positive for periodic acid-Schiff reagent are seen frequently in the granular and molecular layers of the cerebellum of individuals with kuru and in some cases of scrapie. [10]

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