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Detection of the Abnormal Isoform of the Prion Protein Associated With Chronic Wasting Disease in the Optic Pathways of the Brai

Posted Nov 25 2010 9:49pm
Detection of the Abnormal Isoform of the Prion Protein Associated With Chronic Wasting Disease in the Optic Pathways of the Brain and Retina of Rocky Mountain Elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni)

T. R. Spraker1, K. I. O’Rourke2, T. Gidlewski3, J. G. Powers4, J. J. Greenlee5, and M. A. Wild4 Abstract Eyes and nuclei of the visual pathways in the brain were examined in 30 Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) representing 3 genotypes of the prion protein gene PRNP (codon 132: MM, ML, or LL).

Tissues were examined for the presence of the abnormal isoform of the prion protein associated with chronic wasting disease (PrPCWD). Nuclei and axonal tracts from a single section of brain stem at the level of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve were scored for intensity and distribution of PrPCWD immunoreactivity and degree of spongiform degeneration. This obex scoring ranged from 0 (elk with no PrPCWD in the brain stem) to 10 (representing elk in terminal stage of disease). PrPCWD was detected in the retina of 16 of 18 (89%) elk with an obex score of > 7. PrPCWD was not detected in the retina of the 3 chronic wasting disease–negative elk and 9 elk with an obex score of < 6. PrPCWD was found in the nuclei of the visual pathways in the brain before it was found in the retina. Within the retina, PrPCWD was first found in the inner plexiform layer, followed by the outer plexiform layer. Intracytoplasmic accumulation of PrPCWD was found in a few neurons in the ganglion cell layer in the PRNP 132ML elk but was a prominent feature in the PRNP 132LL elk. Small aggregates of PrPCWD were present on the inner surface of the outer limiting membrane in PRNP 132LL elk but not in PRNP 132MM or 132ML elk. This study demonstrates PrPCWD accumulation in nuclei of the visual pathways of the brain, followed by PrPCWD in the retina.

Keywords brain, chronic wasting disease, eyes, prion protein, retina, Rocky Mountain elk, visual pathways

Generation of a Novel form of Human PrPSc by Inter-species Transmission of Cervid Prions

Marcelo A. Barria,1 Glenn C. Telling,2 Pierluigi Gambetti,3 James A. Mastrianni4 and Claudio Soto1 1Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s disease and related Brain disorders; Dept of Neurology; University of Texas Houston Medical School; Houston, TX USA; 2Dept of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics and Neurology; Sanders Brown Center on Aging; University of Kentucky Medical Center; Lexington, KY USA; 3Institute of Pathology; Case western Reserve University; Cleveland, OH USA; 4Dept of Neurology; University of Chicago; Chicago, IL USA

Prion diseases are infectious neurodegenerative disorders affecting humans and animals that result from the conversion of normal prion protein (PrPC) into the misfolded and infectious prion (PrPSc). Chronic wasting disease (CWD) of cervids is a prion disorder of increasing prevalence within the United States that affects a large population of wild and captive deer and elk. CWD is highly contagious and its origin, mechanism of transmission and exact prevalence are currently unclear. The risk of transmission of CWD to humans is unknown. Defining that risk is of utmost importance, considering that people have been infected by animal prions, resulting in new fatal diseases. To study the possibility that human PrPC can be converted into the infectious form by CWD PrPSc we performed experiments using the Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (PMCA) technique, which mimic in vitro the process of prion replication. Our results show that cervid PrPSc can induce the pathological conversion of human PrPC, but only after the CWD prion strain has been stabilized by successive passages in vitro or in vivo. Interestingly, this newly generated human PrPSc exhibits a distinct biochemical pattern that differs from any of the currently known forms of human PrPSc, indicating that it corresponds to a novel human prion strain. Our findings suggest that CWD prions have the capability to infect humans, and that this ability depends on CWD strain adaptation, implying that the risk for human health progressively increases with the spread of CWD among cervids.

Prion Transmission from Cervids to Humans is Strain-dependent

Qingzhong Kong, Shenghai Huang,*Fusong Chen, Michael Payne, Pierluigi Gambetti and Liuting Qing Department of Pathology; Case western Reserve University; Cleveland, OH USA *Current address: Nursing Informatics; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; New York, NY USA

Key words: CWD, strain, human transmission

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a widespread prion disease in cervids (deer and elk) in North America where significant human exposure to CWD is likely and zoonotic transmission of CWD is a concern. Current evidence indicates a strong barrier for transmission of the classical CWD strain to humans with the PrP-129MM genotype. A few recent reports suggest the presence of two or more CWD strains. What remain unknown is whether individuals with the PrP-129VV/MV genotypes are also resistant to the classical CWD strain and whether humans are resistant to all natural or adapted cervid prion strains. Here we report that a human prion strain that had adopted the cervid prion protein (PrP) sequence through passage in cervidized transgenic mice efficiently infected transgenic mice expressing human PrP, indicating that the species barrier from cervid to humans is prion strain-dependent and humans can be vulnerable to novel cervid prion strains. Preliminary results on CWD transmission in transgenic mice expressing human PrP-129V will also be discussed.

Acknowledgement Supported by NINDS NS052319 and NIA AG14359.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


The Heidenhain Variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Stefan Kropp, MD; Walter J. Schulz-Schaeffer, MD; Michael Finkenstaedt, MD; Christian Riedemann, MD; Otto Windl, PhD; Bernhard J. Steinhoff, MD; Inga Zerr, MD; Hans A. Kretzschmar, MD; Sigrid Poser, MD

Arch Neurol. 1999;56:55-61.

Objective To investigate whether typical neuropathological and radiological findings can be identified in patients with the clinical diagnosis of the Heidenhain variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

Design Case study. The clinical symptoms, neuropathological findings, electroencephalograms, magnetic resonance images, and cerebrospinal fluid samples of 14 Heidenhain cases were evaluated. Neuropathological changes were compared with those in a group of 14 patients with ataxia as the leading clinical sign.

Setting A university hospital, base of the German National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Study.

Patients Medical records of 169 neurologically examined patients with prospectively classified and neuropathologically confirmed CJD were analyzed.

Main Outcome Measure Difference in neuropathological and radiological findings between patients with the Heidenhain variant and other patients with CJD.

Results Of 169 patients with confirmed CJD, 20% showed characteristic clinical findings such as blurred vision, visual field restriction, metamorphopsia, or cortical blindness. Disease course of the Heidenhain group, as compared with the group of all patients with definite CJD, was significantly shorter (5.7 months vs 7.5 months; P=.02, t test). Neuropathological examination of patients with the Heidenhain variant showed most pronounced changes in the occipital lobe but less damage in the cingulate gyrus and basal ganglia compared with 14 patients with CJD who had ataxia as the leading clinical sign. Eleven (92%) of 12 genetically analyzed Heidenhain cases were homozygous for methionine at codon 129 of the prion protein gene (PRNP). In 9 of 9 cases, the 14-3-3 protein was present. In 7 (78%) of 9 cases, the level of neuron-specific enolase was elevated, with a concentration above 35 ng/mL. Periodic sharp-wave complexes were observed in 11 (78%) of the 14 cases. In 7 (63%) of 11 patients, magnetic resonance images showed symmetric hyperintensities in the basal ganglia in the T2- and proton-weighted sequence. In 4 of 11 cases the T2- and proton density–weighted images showed a pronounced signal increase confined to the gray matter of the occipital and visual cortex. Isolated atrophy of the visual cortex was noticeable in 2 of 11 cases.

Conclusions The clinical presentation of the Heidenhain variant of CJD was shown to correlate with the neuropathological findings of gliosis and nerve cell loss. In patients with visual disorders of unclear origin and signs of dementia, the differential diagnosis of a Heidenhain variant of CJD must be taken into consideration.

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Kropp, Riedemann, Zerr, and Poser), Neuropathology (Drs Schulz-Schaeffer, Windl, and Kretzschmar), Neuroradiology (Dr Finkenstaedt), and Clinical Neurophysiology (Dr Steinhoff), Georg-August-University Göttingen, Göttingen, and the MR/CT Institute Hamburg, Hamburg (Dr Finkenstaedt), Germany.

full text pdf ;

Monday, December 14, 2009

Similarities between Forms of Sheep Scrapie and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Are Encoded by Distinct Prion Types

(hmmm, this is getting interesting now...TSS)

Sporadic CJD type 1 and atypical/ Nor98 scrapie are characterized by fine (reticular) deposits,

see also ;

All of the Heidenhain variants were of the methionine/ methionine type 1 molecular subtype.

see full text ;

Monday, December 14, 2009

Similarities between Forms of Sheep Scrapie and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Are Encoded by Distinct Prion Types

Heidenhain Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease autopsy case report 'MOM'

DIVISION OF NEUROPATHOLOGY University of Texas Medical Branch 114 McCullough Bldg. Galveston, Texas 77555-0785


DATE: 4-23-98

TO: Mr. Terry Singeltary @ -------

FROM: Gerald Campbell

FAX: (409) 772-5315 PHONE: (409) 772-2881

Number of Pages (including cover sheet)

snip...see full text ;

Friday, August 27, 2010


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Scrapie USA

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Increased susceptibility of human-PrP transgenic mice to bovine spongiform encephalopathy following passage in sheep

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


International Prion Congress: From agent to disease September 8–11, 2010 Salzburg, Austria

Monday, November 22, 2010

Atypical transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in ruminants: a challenge for disease surveillance and control


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Tuesday, November 02, 2010


BSE - ATYPICAL LESION DISTRIBUTION (RBSE 92-21367) statutory (obex only) diagnostic criteria CVL 1992

Seven main threats for the future linked to prions

The NeuroPrion network has identified seven main threats for the future linked to prions.

First threat

The TSE road map defining the evolution of European policy for protection against prion diseases is based on a certain numbers of hypotheses some of which may turn out to be erroneous. In particular, a form of BSE (called atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), recently identified by systematic testing in aged cattle without clinical signs, may be the origin of classical BSE and thus potentially constitute a reservoir, which may be impossible to eradicate if a sporadic origin is confirmed.

*** Also, a link is suspected between atypical BSE and some apparently sporadic cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. These atypical BSE cases constitute an unforeseen first threat that could sharply modify the European approach to prion diseases.

Second threat

In small ruminants, a new atypical form of scrapie currently represents up to 50% of detected cases and even involves sheep selected for resistance to classical scrapie. The consequences for animal and human health are still unknown and there may be a potential connection with atypical BSE. These atypical scrapie cases constitute a second threat not envisioned previously which could deeply modify the European approach to prion diseases.

Third threat

The species barrier between human and cattle might be weaker than previously expected and the risk of transmission of prion diseases between different species has been notoriously unpredictable. The emergence of new atypical strains in cattle and sheep together with the spread of chronic wasting disease in cervids renders the understanding of the species barrier critical. This constitutes a third threat not properly envisioned previously that could deeply modify the European approach to prion diseases.

Fourth threat

Prion infectivity has now been detected in blood, urine and milk and this has potential consequences on risk assessments for the environment and food as well as for contamination of surfaces including medical instruments. Furthermore the procedures recommended for decontamination of MBM (Meat and Bone Meal), which are based on older methodologies not designed for this purpose, have turned out to be of very limited efficacy and compromise current policies concerning the reuse of these high value protein supplements (cross-contamination of feed circuits are difficult to control). It should be noted that the destruction or very limited use of MBM is estimated to still cost 1 billion euros per year to the European economy,

whereas other countries, including the US,

Brazil, and Argentine do not have these constraints.

However, many uncertainties remain concerning the guarantees that can be reasonably provided for food and feed safety and scientific knowledge about the causative agents (prions) will continue to evolve. This decontamination and environmental issue is a fourth threat that could modify deeply the European approach to prion diseases.

Fifth threat The precise nature of prions remains elusive. Very recent data indicate that abnormal prion protein (PrPTSE) can be generated from the brains of normal animals, and under some conditions (including contaminated waste water) PrPTSE can be destroyed whereas the BSE infectious titre remains almost unchanged, a finding that underlines the possibility of having BSE without any detectable diagnostic marker. These are just two areas of our incomplete knowledge of the fundamental biology of prions which constitute a fifth threat to the European approach to prion diseases.

Sixth threat The absence of common methods and standardisation in the evaluation of multiple in vivo models with different prion strains and different transgenic mice expressing PrP from different species (different genotypes of cattle, sheep, cervids, etc) renders a complete and comprehensive analysis of all the data generated by the different scientific groups almost impossible. This deeply impairs risk assessment. Moreover, the possibility of generating PrPTSE de novo with new powerful techniques has raised serious questions about their appropriateness for use as blood screening tests. The confusion about an incorrect interpretation of positive results obtained by these methods constitutes a sixth threat to European approach to prion diseases.

Seventh Threat The detection of new or re-emerging prion diseases in animals or humans which could lead to a new crisis in consumer confidence over the relaxation of precautionary measures and surveillance programmes constitutes a seventh threat that could modify the European approach to prion diseases.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seven main threats for the future linked to prions


In this study, we identified a novel mutation in the bovine prion protein gene (Prnp), called E211K, of a confirmed BSE positive cow from Alabama, United States of America. This mutation is identical to the E200K pathogenic mutation found in humans with a genetic form of CJD. This finding represents the first report of a confirmed case of BSE with a potential pathogenic mutation within the bovine Prnp gene. We hypothesize that the bovine Prnp E211K mutation most likely has caused BSE in "the approximately 10-year-old cow" carrying the E221K mutation.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

BSE Case Associated with Prion Protein Gene Mutation (g-h-BSEalabama) and VPSPr PRIONPATHY

(see mad cow feed in COMMERCE IN ALABAMA...TSS)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

re-Freedom of Information Act Project Number 3625-32000-086-05, Study of Atypical BSE UPDATE July 28, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

TAFS1 Position Paper on Position Paper on Relaxation of the Feed Ban in the EU Berne, 2010 TAFS


Monday, August 9, 2010

Variably protease-sensitive prionopathy: A new sporadic disease of the prion protein or just more PRIONBALONEY ?

PLEASE SEE the dramatic increase in sporadic CJD cases in documented BSE countries,


Australia Austria Canada France Germany Italy Netherlands Slovakia Spain Switzerland UK


5 Includes 16 cases in which the diagnosis is pending, and 18 inconclusive cases;

6 Includes 21 (19 from 2010) cases with type determination pending in which the diagnosis of vCJD has been excluded.



Monday, August 9, 2010

National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center Cases Examined (July 31, 2010) Year Total Referrals2 Prion Disease Sporadic Familial Iatrogenic vCJD

1996 & earlier 51 33 28 5 0 0

1997 114 68 59 9 0 0

1998 88 52 44 7 1 0

1999 120 72 64 8 0 0

2000 146 103 89 14 0 0

2001 209 119 109 10 0 0

2002 248 149 125 22 2 0

2003 274 176 137 39 0 0

2004 325 186 164 21 0 1(3)

2005 344 194 157 36 1 0

2006 383 197 166 29 0 2(4)

2007 377 214 187 27 0 0

2008 394 231 204 25 0 0

2009 425 259 216 43 0 0

2010 204 124 85 20 0 0

TOTAL 3702(5) 2177(6) 1834 315 4 3

1 Listed based on the year of death or, if not available, on year of referral;

2 Cases with suspected prion disease for which brain tissue and/or blood (in familial cases) were submitted;

3 Disease acquired in the United Kingdom;

4 Disease was acquired in the United Kingdom in one case and in Saudi Arabia in the other case;

5 Includes 16 cases in which the diagnosis is pending, and 18 inconclusive cases;

6 Includes 21 (19 from 2010) cases with type determination pending in which the diagnosis of vCJD has been excluded.

Monday, August 9, 2010

National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center Cases Examined (July 31, 2010)

(please watch and listen to the video and the scientist speaking about atypical BSE and sporadic CJD and listen to Professor Aguzzi)

Atypical BSE in Cattle

BSE has been linked to the human disease variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD). The known exposure pathways for humans contracting vCJD are through the consumption of beef and beef products contaminated by the BSE agent and through blood transfusions. However, recent scientific evidence suggests that the BSE agent may play a role in the development of other forms of human prion diseases as well. These studies suggest that classical type of BSE may cause type 2 sporadic CJD and that H-type atypical BSE is connected with a familial form of CJD.

To date the OIE/WAHO assumes that the human and animal health standards set out in the BSE chapter for classical BSE (C-Type) applies to all forms of BSE which include the H-type and L-type atypical forms. This assumption is scientifically not completely justified and accumulating evidence suggests that this may in fact not be the case. Molecular characterization and the spatial distribution pattern of histopathologic lesions and immunohistochemistry (IHC) signals are used to identify and characterize atypical BSE. Both the L-type and H-type atypical cases display significant differences in the conformation and spatial accumulation of the disease associated prion protein (PrPSc) in brains of afflicted cattle. Transmission studies in bovine transgenic and wild type mouse models support that the atypical BSE types might be unique strains because they have different incubation times and lesion profiles when compared to C-type BSE. When L-type BSE was inoculated into ovine transgenic mice and Syrian hamster the resulting molecular fingerprint had changed, either in the first or a subsequent passage, from L-type into C-type BSE. In addition, non-human primates are specifically susceptible for atypical BSE as demonstrated by an approximately 50% shortened incubation time for L-type BSE as compared to C-type. Considering the current scientific information available, it cannot be assumed that these different BSE types pose the same human health risks as C-type BSE or that these risks are mitigated by the same protective measures.

snip...see full text ;

14th ICID International Scientific Exchange Brochure -

Final Abstract Number: ISE.114

Session: International Scientific Exchange

Transmissible Spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) animal and human TSE in North America update October 2009

T. Singeltary

Bacliff, TX, USA

An update on atypical BSE and other TSE in North America. Please remember, the typical U.K. c-BSE, the atypical l-BSE (BASE), and h-BSE have all been documented in North America, along with the typical scrapie's, and atypical Nor-98 Scrapie, and to date, 2 different strains of CWD, and also TME. All these TSE in different species have been rendered and fed to food producing animals for humans and animals in North America (TSE in cats and dogs ?), and that the trading of these TSEs via animals and products via the USA and Canada has been immense over the years, decades.

12 years independent research of available data

I propose that the current diagnostic criteria for human TSEs only enhances and helps the spreading of human TSE from the continued belief of the UKBSEnvCJD only theory in 2009. With all the science to date refuting it, to continue to validate this old myth, will only spread this TSE agent through a multitude of potential routes and sources i.e. consumption, medical i.e., surgical, blood, dental, endoscopy, optical, nutritional supplements, cosmetics etc.

I would like to submit a review of past CJD surveillance in the USA, and the urgent need to make all human TSE in the USA a reportable disease, in every state, of every age group, and to make this mandatory immediately without further delay. The ramifications of not doing so will only allow this agent to spread further in the medical, dental, surgical arena's. Restricting the reporting of CJD and or any human TSE is NOT scientific. Iatrogenic CJD knows NO age group, TSE knows no boundaries. I propose as with Aguzzi, Asante, Collinge, Caughey, Deslys, Dormont, Gibbs, Gajdusek, Ironside, Manuelidis, Marsh, et al and many more, that the world of TSE Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy is far from an exact science, but there is enough proven science to date that this myth should be put to rest once and for all, and that we move forward with a new classification for human and animal TSE that would properly identify the infected species, the source species, and then the route.

page 114 ;

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