The aim of this study was to provide morphological evidence for neuronal apoptosis in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) using hematoxylin-eosin (HE)-stained specimens. A microscopic examination showed typical apoptotic bodies were found in the granular layer of the cerebellum in 13 of 14 Japanese patients with CJD, while no apoptotic bodies were observed in any other areas of the examined CJD brains. Most of the fragmented nuclei of the apoptotic cells were labeled by in situ end-labeling of fragmented DNA, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nickend labeling. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating neuronal apoptotic bodies in the human neurodegenerative disorders on HE-stained sections. The present findings indicate that apoptosis plays a major role in the neuronal loss of the cerebellar granule cells in CJD.
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