Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Partial dissociation of PrPSc deposition and vacuolation in the brains of scrapie and BSE experimentally affected goats.

Abstract

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 (PrPSc). 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, PrPSc 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 PrPSc by icc. Western blot analysis of PrPSc 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 PrPSc 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 PrPSc determination by icc alone as a means by which to diagnose TSE infection may generate false negative results.