Partial dissociation of PrP(Sc) deposition and vacuolation in the brains of scrapie and BSE experimentally affected goats

J Foster, W Goldmann, D Parnham, A Chong, N Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The diagnosis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) depends on the detection of vacuolation in brain sections taken from affected individuals and/or the identification of the disease-associated isoform of the PrP (prion) protein (PrP(Sc)). During the course of an investigation, goats clinically affected following experimental infection with three different sources of TSE (SSBP/1, CH1641 and BSE) developed widespread vacuolar degeneration in the brain. With BSE, PrP(Sc) was clearly recognized in affected goat brain by immunocytochemistry (icc) and Western blotting, but in contrast the experimental scrapie sources SSBP/1 and CH1641 showed almost no or very little PrP(Sc) by icc. Western blot analysis of PrP(Sc) from BSE-affected and SSBP/1-affected goat brain showed that the protein was present in brain affected by both TSE sources, but could not be used to determine how much protein was present. It became clear that PrP(Sc) and vacuolation could be partially dissociated following challenge with two of the three TSE sources. Subtle differences in glycosylation patterns between BSE- and SSBP/1-associated PrP protein isoforms could also be recognized, although these experimentally generated results should not be regarded as a BSE/scrapie differential test. However, our study warns that the reliance on PrP(Sc) determination by icc alone as a means by which to diagnose TSE infection may generate false negative results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-73
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue numberPt 1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cattle
  • Encephalopathy, Bovine Spongiform
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Goats
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • PrPSc Proteins
  • Scrapie
  • Sheep


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