Special Issue "Infectious Human and Zoonotic Prion Diseases"

A special issue of Pathogens (ISSN 2076-0817). This special issue belongs to the section "Prions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 February 2024 | Viewed by 677

Special Issue Editors

1. Distinguished Professor, Director, Institute of Brain Science, Nanchang, China
2. Executive Dean, Jiangxi Academy of Clinical Medical Sciences, Nanchang, China
3. The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University School of Medicine, Nanchang, China
Interests: prions; prion diseases; prion-like; zoonosis; neurodegenerative disorders; protein misfolding disorders; protein aggregations; biomarkers; neuroscience; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; glycosylation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Pathology, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Adelbert Road, Room B15, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Interests: prions; prion diseases; biomarkers; Parkinson’s disease; Alzheimer’s disease; prion-like; zoonosis; neurodegenerative disorders; protein misfolding disorders; protein aggregations; neuroscience

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Prion diseases are fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies affecting both animals and humans. While many animal species are susceptible to prion infection, animal prion diseases mainly include scrapie in sheep and goats, bovine spongiform encephalopathies (BSE, commonly named mad cow disease) in cattle, and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in elk and deer. Human prion diseases are very rare but highly heterogeneous. They can be sporadic, genetic, and acquired by infection, including Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), kuru, Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker disease, fatal insomnia, and variably proteinase-sensitive prionopathy. Whether there are any links in terms of the etiologies among the above various prion diseases remains unclear. However, it is known that they are all associated with the accumulation in the central nervous system of the infectious prion protein (PrPSc) that is derived from its cellular isoform (PrPC) through a structural transition.

Due to the species barrier that is probably associated with differences in each host’s PrP sequences, prion diseases seem to be less transmissible across species. However, mad cow disease has been well documented to cause variant CJD (vCJD) in humans, the first proven zoonotic prion disease. The outbreak of mad cow disease and its zoonotic transmissibility raise concerns about the potential public health threat from other animal-derived prion diseases. For instance, one of the current main concerns is the uncertainty of CWD. It is the most contagious of all prion diseases, endemic in North America, and spreading to 26 US states and 3 Canadian provinces. The disease has also been reported in South Korea and recently in Europe. Its prevalence rates among free-ranging cervids are as high as 40% in some areas of the United States, where venison is mostly consumed. Furthermore, infectious prions are readily shed from infected cervids through urine, feces, saliva, and carcasses. Prions in these excreta and bodies have been found to remain stable and infectious in the environment for many years. Conceivably, CWD poses potential risks to public health in North America. There are several recent lines of evidence indicating that the zoonotic potential of CWD cannot be completely excluded. Given the huge damage of the COVID-19 pandemic and its unknown origin, infectious prions, their potential zoonotic nature, and possible outbreaks in the future cannot be underestimated.

This Special Issue welcomes prion researchers and experts to highlight the new developments in prions and their zoonotic potentials that have recently emerged. In addition, we also accept original research and review articles about the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and potential therapeutics of human and animal prion diseases. In particular, we seek manuscripts dealing with atypical prions and prion diseases that may be associated with any zoonotic potentials.

We look forward to your contributions and a valuable edition that will promote further understanding of this critical issue in the field.

Prof. Dr. Wen-Quan Zou
Dr. Zerui Wang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • prions
  • prion diseases
  • prion-like
  • zoonosis
  • neurodegenerative disorders
  • protein misfolding disorders
  • protein aggregations
  • biomarkers
  • neuroscience
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • glycosylation

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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