The major neuropathological features of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are well documented, however, the underlying molecular events are poorly defined. We have applied cDNA expression arrays and quantitative RT-PCR to the study of gene expression in the brain, and more specifically in the hippocampus, of the well-characterized ME7/CV mouse model of scrapie. The number of genes showing consistent, scrapie-associated changes in expression was limited, and was primarily restricted to glial-associated genes. Increased expression of genes encoding glial fibrillary acidic protein, vimentin, complement component 1q (alpha and beta polypeptides), cathepsin D, clusterin and cystatin C was evident in the hippocampus from 170 days after inoculation (dpi), with expression increasing thereafter to terminal disease (225-235 dpi). Elevation of gene expression preceded clinical disease by approximately 30 days, and coincided with a 20-day period in the ME7/CV model during which 50% of the CA1 hippocampal neurones are lost. Increased expression of cystatin C, an inhibitor of lysosomal cysteine proteases, is a novel finding in the context of TSE neuropathology and was confirmed by Western analysis and immunocytochemistry.
- Blotting, Western
- Gene Expression Regulation
- Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
- Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction