Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease Misdiagnosed as Multiple System Atrophy

Nicholas B. Martin, Shunsuke Koga, Brian S. Appleby, Hiroaki Sekiya, Dennis W. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by various combinations of autonomic failure, parkinsonism, and cerebellar syndromes. Although consensus criteria have been widely used to diagnose MSA, accurate clinical diagnosis remains challenging. Other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Lewy body disease, can mimic MSA. Objectives: We described clinical and neuropathologic findings of two patients with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) who had antemortem clinical diagnoses of MSA. Methods: The brain bank for neurodegenerative disorders was queried for cases with a clinical diagnosis of MSA, but neuropathologic findings of CJD. Results: Case 1 was a 55-year-old man with a 6-month history of orthostatic hypotension, parkinsonism, cerebellar ataxia, bradyphrenia, and memory impairment. Case 2 was a 65-year-old man who had a 5-year history of cerebellar ataxia, parkinsonism, and cognitive impairment, as well as a 7-year history of dream enactment behavior. Neither case had characteristic α-synuclein immunoreactive neuronal or glial inclusions typical of MSA. Instead, they had spongiform encephalopathy with neuronal loss and gliosis with prion protein-immunoreactive kuru-like plaques. Genetic analyses in case 1 had wild-type PRNP, whereas case 2 revealed a 4-octapeptide repeat insertion in PRNP. Conclusions: Even when clinical features suggest MSA, CJD should also be considered if the progression is rapid or the disease course is atypical, such as the absence of autonomic dysfunction for an extended period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-500
Number of pages5
JournalMovement Disorders Clinical Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease Misdiagnosed as Multiple System Atrophy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this