A prion reduction filter does not completely remove endogenous prion infectivity from sheep blood

Sandra McCutcheon, Richard Alejo-Blanco, Boon Chin Tan, Lorenzo González, Stuart Martin, Gary Mallinson, Nigel E J Appleford, Marc Turner, Jean Manson, Fiona Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy affecting humans, acquired initially through infection with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). A small number of vCJD cases have been acquired through the transfusion of blood from asymptomatic donors who subsequently developed vCJD. Filter devices that selectively bind the infectious agent associated with prion disease have been developed for removal of infection from blood. This study independently assessed one such filter, the P-CAPT filter, for efficacy in removing infectivity associated with the BSE agent in sheep blood. The sheep BSE model has previously been used to evaluate the distribution of infectivity in clinically relevant blood components. This is the first study to assess the ability of the P-CAPT filter to remove endogenous infectivity associated with blood components prepared from a large animal model. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Paired units of leukoreduced red blood cells (LR-RBCs) were prepared from donors at the clinical stage of infection and confirmed as having BSE. One cohort of recipients was transfused with LR-RBCs alone, whereas a parallel cohort received LR and P-CAPT-filtered RBCs (LR-RBCs-P-CAPT).

RESULTS: Of 14 recipients, two have been confirmed as having BSE. These sheep had received LR-RBCs and LR-RBCs-P-CAPT from the same donor.

CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that, after leukoreduction and P-CAPT filtration, there can still be sufficient residual infectivity in sheep RBCs to transmit infection when transfused into a susceptible recipient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2123-2133
Issue number9
Early online date30 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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