Researchers have long pondered the function of normal prion protein (PrPc), the nonpathogenic counterpart of the misfolded protein associated with such deadly disorders as bovine spongiform encephalopathy and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Now, studies in mice by European scientists suggest that PrPc plays an important role in preserving the myelin sheath that protects the axons of peripheral nerves (Bremer J et al. Nature Neurosci. doi:10.1038/nn.2483 [published online January 24, 2010]).
Stephenson J. Prions Illuminated. JAMA. 2010;303(7):603. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.149