Mitochondrial respiratory chain deficiency correlates with the severity of neuropathology in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionActa neuropathologica communications. 2020, 8, 50 10.1186/s40478-020-00915-8
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in multiple neurodegenerative diseases but remains largely unexplored in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Here, we characterize the mitochondrial respiratory chain at the individual neuron level in the MM1 and VV2 common molecular subtypes of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Moreover, we investigate the associations between the mitochondrial respiratory chain and neuropathological markers of the disease. Brain tissue from individuals with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and age-matched controls were obtained from the brain collection of the Austrian Creutzfeldt-Jakob Surveillance. The mitochondrial respiratory chain was studied through a dichotomous approach of immunoreactivities in the temporal cortex and the hippocampal subregions of CA4 and CA3. We show that profound deficiency of all mitochondrial respiratory complexes (I-V) occurs in neurons of the severely affected temporal cortex of patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This deficiency correlates strongly with the severity of neuropathological changes, including vacuolation of the neuropil, gliosis and disease associated prion protein load. Respiratory chain deficiency is less pronounced in hippocampal CA4 and CA3 regions compared to the temporal cortex. In both areas respiratory chain deficiency shows a predilection for the MM1 molecular subtype of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Our findings indicate that aberrant mitochondrial respiration could be involved early in the pathogenesis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and contributes to neuronal death, most likely via ATP depletion. Based on these results, we propose that the restricted MRI diffusion profile seen in the brain of patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease might reflect cytotoxic changes due to neuronal respiratory chain failure and ATP loss.