• amyloid plaque;
  • Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease;
  • prion;
  • TAR-DNA binding protein-43;
  • ubiquitin;
  • vCreutzfeldt–Jakob disease

Aims: TAR-DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43) is the major ubiquitinated protein in the aggregates in frontotemporal dementia with ubiquitin-positive, tau-negative inclusions and motor neurone disease. Abnormal TDP-43 immunoreactivity has also been described in Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body diseases and Guam parkinsonism–dementia complex. We therefore aimed to determine whether there is TDP-43 pathology in human prion diseases, which are characterised by variable deposition of prion protein (PrP) aggregates in the brain as amyloid plaques or more diffuse deposits. Material and methods: TDP-43, ubiquitin and PrP were analysed by immunohistochemistry and double-labelling immunofluorescence, in sporadic, acquired and inherited forms of human prion disease. Results: Most PrP plaques contained ubiquitin, while synaptic PrP deposits were not associated with ubiquitin. No abnormal TDP-43 inclusions were identified in any type of prion disease case, and TDP-43 did not co-localize with ubiquitin-positive PrP plaques or with diffuse PrP aggregates. Conclusions: These data do not support a role for TDP-43 in prion disease pathogenesis and argue that TDP-43 inclusions define a distinct group of neurodegenerative disorders.