CSF protein 14-3-3 is measured in cases of suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Elevated concentrations of protein 14-3-3 in the CSF are an important biochemical marker of relatively rapid neuronal destruction. In addition to the various forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), elevated levels of 14-3-3 protein in the CSF can be found in other rapidly progressive dementia and other vascular, inflammatory, neoplastic and metabolic disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) associated with significant and rapid neuronal destruction (days to months, but not months to years).
The major clinical utility of measuring CSF 14-3-3 protein is in the differential diagnosis of dementia, in particular for the distinction between Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and its variants from other forms of dementia. The most common forms of dementia (progressive multiple infarction dementia and Alzheimer's disease) can only very rarely present with elevated levels of 14-3-3 in the CSF, which is possibly due to their slow rate of progression.
Other useful biochemical markers in CSF for differential diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are Tau proteins and S100B, which are also highly elevated.