Medical Definition of Prion

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017

Prion: A small proteinaceous infectious disease-causing agent that is believed to be the smallest infectious particle. A prion is neither bacterial nor fungal nor viral and contains no genetic material. Prions have been held responsible for a number of degenerative brain diseases, including mad cow disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, kuru, and an unusual form of hereditary dementia known as Gertsmann-Straeussler-Scheinker disease.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017