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June 1972

Argentophilic Plaques in Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Author Affiliations

Bronx, NY
From the Division of Neuropathology, departments of pathology (Drs. Hirano and Ghatak) and neurology (Drs. Partnow and Gomori), Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, and departments of pathology (Drs. Hirano, Ghatak, and Johnson) and neurology (Drs. Partnow and Gomori), Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

Arch Neurol. 1972;26(6):530-542. doi:10.1001/archneur.1972.00490120070008

One of the important diagnostic features of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the absence of senile plaques and Alzheimer neurofibrillary changes. Two consecutive cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease were recently diagnosed on the basis of clinical signs and symptoms. At postmortem examination, these diagnoses were confirmed. Both showed neuronal loss, sponginess, and astrocytic gliosis in the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia. In addition, argentophilic plaques were found throughout the cerebral cortex and part of the basal ganglia in numbers exceeding those expected in the brains of normal old people. Alzheimer neurofibrillary tangles were virtually absent except for a number seen in Ammon's horn. Histochemical changes seen in the plaques were similar to those observed in Alzheimer's disease. Electron microscopically, the plaques appeared to be composed of distended neuronal processes filled with abnormal accumulations of various organelles.