Study Examines Potential Transmission of Alzheimer, Parkinson Disease Protein in Cadaver Human Growth Hormone


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CHICAGO – A group of recipients of cadaver-derived human growth hormone (c-hGH) does not appear to be at increased risk for Alzheimer and Parkinson disease despite their likely exposure to neurodegenerative disease (ND)-associated proteins and elevated risk of infectious prion protein-related disease, according to a report published Online First by JAMA Neurology, a JAMA Network publication.


David J. Irwin, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, and colleagues looked for evidence for human-to-human transmission of Alzheimer disease (AD), Parkinson disease (PD) and related neurodegenerative disease (ND)-associated proteins (NDAPs) in c-hGH recipients.


The study included 34 routine autopsy patients and a group of c-hGH recipients in the National Hormone and Pituitary Program (NHPP). No cases of AD or PD were identified, according to the study results.


“We found no evidence to support concerns that NDAPs underlying AD and PD transmit disease in humans despite evidence of their cell-to-cell transmission in model systems of these disorders. Further monitoring is required to confirm these conclusions,” the study concludes.

(JAMA Neurol. Published online February 4, 2013. doi:10.1001/.jamaneurol.2013.1933. Available pre-embargo to the media at


Editor’s Note:  The was supported by an AD Core Centre grant and grants from the National Institute on Aging and Intramural Research Program and the National Institute of Child Health and Development, National Institutes of Health. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding andsupport, etc.

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