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Whilst ovine BSE displays distinct pathological characteristics to ovine CH1641-like scrapie upon passage in rodents, they have very similar molecular phenotypes. As such, the in vitro differentiation of these strains in routine surveillance programmes presents a significant diagnostic challenge. In this study, using serial protein-misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA), ovine BSE was readily amplified in vitro in brain substrates from sheep with V(136)R(154)Q(171)/V(136)R(154)Q(171) or AHQ/AHQ PRNP genotypes. In contrast, the CH1641 strain was refractory to such amplification. This method allowed for complete and unequivocal differentiation of experimental BSE from CH1641 prion strains within an ovine host.