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Detection of Chronic Wasting Disease Prions in Salivary, Urinary, and Intestinal Tissues of Deer: Potential Mechanisms of Prion Shedding and Transmission


Haley, NJ and Mathiason, CK and Carver, SS and Zabel, M and Telling, GC and Hoover, EA, Detection of Chronic Wasting Disease Prions in Salivary, Urinary, and Intestinal Tissues of Deer: Potential Mechanisms of Prion Shedding and Transmission, Journal of Virology, 85, (13) pp. 6309-6318. ISSN 0022-538X (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2011 American Society for Microbiology.

DOI: doi:10.1128/JVI.00425-11


Efficient horizontal transmission is a signature trait of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids. Infectious prions shed into excreta appear to play a key role in this facile transmission, as has been demonstrated by bioassays of cervid and transgenic species and serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA). However, the source(s) of infectious prions in these body fluids has yet to be identified. In the present study, we analyzed tissues proximate to saliva, urine, and fecal production by sPMCA in an attempt to elucidate this unique aspect of CWD pathogenesis. Oropharyngeal, urogenital, and gastrointestinal tissues along with blood and obex from CWD-exposed cervids (comprising 27 animals and >350 individual samples) were analyzed and scored based on the apparent relative CWD burden. PrPCWDgenerating activity was detected in a range of tissues and was highest in the salivary gland, urinary bladder, and distal intestinal tract. In the same assays, blood from the same animals and unseeded normal brain homogenate controls (n  116 of 117) remained negative. The PrP-converting activity in peripheral tissues varied from 1011- to 100-fold of that found in brain of the same animal. Deer with highest levels of PrPCWD amplification in the brain had higher and more widely disseminated prion amplification in excretory tissues. Interestingly, PrPCWD was not demonstrable in these excretory tissues by conventional Western blotting, suggesting a low prion burden or the presence of protease-sensitive infectious prions destroyed by harsh proteolytic treatments. These findings offer unique insights into the transmission of CWD in particular and prion infection and trafficking overall.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Other biological sciences
Research Field:Other biological sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Carver, SS (Dr Scott Carver)
ID Code:81306
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:86
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2012-11-28
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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