The effect of formic acid on BSE and scrapie infectivity in fixed and unfixed brain-tissue

D M Taylor, J M Brown, Karen Fernie, I. McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Brain-tissue infected with scrapie-like agents remains infectious after histological fixation, and represents a source of occupational exposure. Infectivity titres in formol or paraformaldehyde-lysine-periodate (PLP)-fixed mouse-brains infected with the 301V strain of BSE agent were reduced by around six logs following treatment with formic acid. After PLP fixation and formic acid treatment, no infectivity was detectable in mouse-brain infected with the 87V strain of scrapie agent. Similarly-treated mouse-brain infected with the ME7 strain of scrapie agent showed a titre loss of approximately 5 logs. No infectivity was detectable in PLP-fixed, BSE-infected bovine brain after formic acid treatment, but this was an unreliable result. With unfixed brain homogenates, formic acid reduced the titre of ME7 by > or = 5.0 logs; technical problems limited the measured loss of BSE infectivity to > or = 1.0 logs. These studies confirm that formic acid treatment during fixation of brain-tissue significantly reduces the infectivity titres of scrapie-like agents, thus reducing the level of any occupational exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-74
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number2-4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cattle
  • Encephalopathy, Bovine Spongiform/transmission
  • Formates/pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Prions/drug effects
  • Prions/isolation & purification
  • Scrapie/transmission
  • Virulence/drug effects


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