Peripheral prion disease pathogenesis is unaltered in the absence of sialoadhesin (Siglec-1/CD169)

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Prions are a unique group of pathogens which are considered to comprise solely of an abnormally folded isoform of the cellular prion protein. The accumulation and replication of prions within secondary lymphoid organs is important for their efficient spread from the periphery to the brain where they ultimately cause neurodegeneration and death. Mononuclear phagocytes (MNP) play key roles in prion disease pathogenesis. Some MNP appear to facilitate the propagation of prions to and within lymphoid tissues, whereas others may aid their clearance by phagocytosis and destroying them. Our recent data show that an intact splenic marginal zone is important for the efficient delivery of prions into the B-cell follicles where they subsequently replicate upon follicular dendritic cells before infecting the nervous system. Sialoadhesin is a MNP-restricted cell adhesion molecule that binds sialylated glycoproteins. Sialoadhesin is constitutively expressed upon splenic marginal zone metallophilic and lymph node sub-capsular sinus macrophage populations, where it may function to bind sialylated glycoproteins, pathogens and exosomes in the blood and lymph via recognition of terminal sialic acid residues. Since the prion glycoprotein is highly sialylated, we tested the hypothesis that sialoadhesin may influence prion disease pathogenesis. We show that after peripheral exposure, prion pathogenesis was unaltered in sialoadhesin-deficient mice; revealing that lymphoid sequestration of prions is not mediated via sialoadhesin. Thus although an intact marginal zone is important for the efficient uptake and delivery of prions into the B cell follicles of the spleen, this is not influenced by sialoadhesin expression by the MNP within it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120–129
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • prion disease
  • Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
  • sialoadhesin
  • macrophage
  • spleen
  • complement component C4


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