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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and organ donation: Is there risk of disease transmission?

Authors

  • Brandon B. Holmes BA,

    1. Department of Neurology, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University in St Louis, School of Medicine, St Louis, MO
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  • Marc I. Diamond MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University in St Louis, School of Medicine, St Louis, MO
    • Department of Neurology, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University in St Louis, School of Medicine, Biotechnology Building, Room 111, 4559 Scott Ave, St Louis, MO 63110
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Abstract

A new protocol suggests that patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are a viable source of tissue for organ transplantation. However, multiple lines of evidence suggest that many neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS, might progress due to transcellular propagation of protein aggregation among neurons. Transmission of the disease state from donor to host thus may be possible under the permissive circumstances of graft transplantation. We argue for careful patient selection and close longitudinal follow-up of recipients when harvesting organs from individuals with neurodegenerative disease, especially dominantly inherited forms. ANN NEUROL 2012;72:832–836

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