Prions in unexpected places
Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common human prion disease, can be transmitted via neurosurgical instruments or corneal or dura mater transplants contaminated by infectious prions. Some epidemiological studies have associated sCJD risk with surgeries that involve the skin, but whether the skin of sCJD patients contains prion infectivity is not known. Orrú et al. now report detectable prion seeding activity and infectivity in skin from sCJD patients, although at much lower levels compared to brain tissues from sCJD patients. These data suggest that there may be a potential for iatrogenic sCJD transmission through skin.