Gaceta médica de México
Print version ISSN 0016-3813
MANDUJANO, Alejandra et al. Physiopathology of prion diseases. Gac. Méd. Méx [online]. 2006, vol.142, n.5, pp.399-406. ISSN 0016-3813.
Prion diseases are a group of degenerative disorders characterized by being progressive, fast growing, and fatal, they affect humans and animals. Due to their physiopathogeny, these disorders can be sporadic, genetic, or infectious. Prions are cellular proteins that lack nucleic acids; they are notviruses or microorganisms. Prions induce neuronal death, brain spongiosis, which are a hallmark of these diseases, as well as amyloid prion protein plaque aggregates. Although the causes that favor pathogenic prion proteins remain uncertain, it is possible that conformational changes of the prion protein allow them to create copies of themselves to form aggregates and induce neuronal death. Other theories suggest that quantitative and qualitative changes in the glycosylation pattern induce the pathological prion form. The latter allows to explain some of their interactions and to understand better the conformational changes and the physico-chemical properties of the prion protein. We review some of the first biological functions (as a transporter of Cu2+ ions) that have been described to this molecule. The present review focuses on different aspects of prion diseases aimed at understanding better their physiopathogenic characteristics.
Keywords : Prion; prion diseases; glycosylation; brain.