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Accumulation of the misfolded prion protein, PrP(Sc) in the central nervous system (CNS) is strongly linked to progressive neurodegenerative disease. For many transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), peripheral lymphoid tissue is an important site of PrP(Sc) amplification but without gross immunological consequence. Susceptible VRQ homozygous New Zealand Cheviot sheep were infected with SSBP/1 scrapie by inoculation in the drainage area of the prescapular lymph nodes. The earliest time that PrP(Sc) was consistently detected by immunohistology in these nodes was D50 post infection. This transcriptomic study of lymph node taken before (D10) and after (D50) the detection of PrP(Sc), aimed to identify the genes and physiological pathways affected by disease progression within the nodes as assessed by PrP(Sc) detection. Affymetrix Ovine Gene arrays identified 75 and 80 genes as differentially-expressed at D10 and D50, respectively, in comparison with control sheep inoculated with uninfected brain homogenate. Approximately 70% of these were repressed at each time point. RT-qPCR analysis of seven genes showed statistically significant correlation with the array data, although the results for IL1RN and TGIF were different between the two technologies. The ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) and general low level of repression of gene expression in lymphoid tissue, including many inflammatory genes, contrasts with the pro-inflammatory and pro-apoptotic events that occur within the CNS at equivalent stages of disease progression as assessed by PrP(Sc) accumulation.
- Sheep; scrapie; lymph node; inflammation; transcriptome