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Pathogenetical significance of porencephalic lesions associated with intracerebral inoculation of sheep with the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-258
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


Decreased rates of transmission of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) to sheep have been attributed to some polymorphisms of the prion protein (PrP) and to a 'species barrier' on interspecies experiments. In addition, the blood-brain barrier may be a further impediment to TSE neuroinvasion. The intracerebral (I/C) route is generally considered the most efficient for TSE transmission, as it may help to bypass those factors. Therefore, susceptibility of particular species to specific TSE agents is conducted by this route. Aims: This study characterizes the traumatic brain lesions associated with the I/C injection of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent in sheep, assesses the relevance of such lesions in the outcome of clinical disease and provides insight into the mechanisms of PrPd conversion and amplification following I/C challenge. Methods: A total of 27 hemibrains have been macroscopically and immunohistochemically examined to investigate the presence of lesions compatible with the needle track and the PrPd distribution, respectively. Results: No residual inoculum was found and the extension and severity of the traumatic brain lesions were unrelated to the clinical outcome. Sheep with PrPd accumulation in the brain also showed conspicuous focal aggregates in the porencephalic lesions and in the circumventricular organs. In contrast, sheep without PrPd deposits in the brain were also negative in the traumatic lesions. Conclusion: Overall, these findings suggest that the efficiency of the I/C route is due to effective absorption and blood recirculation of infection, rather than to primary amplification at the site of injection.

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