Time course of prion seeding activity in cerebrospinal fluid of scrapie-infected hamsters after intratongue and intracerebral inoculations.
ABSTRACT: To assess prospects for early diagnosis of prion disease based on prion seeding activity in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), we measured the activity over time in scrapie-infected hamsters by real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC). After intracerebral inoculation, activity appeared in CSF within 1 day and plateaued weeks before the onset of clinical signs. However, after intratongue inoculation, activity first appeared in CSF with the onset of clinical signs, well after higher-level accumulation of seeding activity in brain.
Project description:In vitro amplification assays, such as real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) are used to detect aggregation activity of misfolded prion protein (PrP) in brain, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and urine samples from patients with a prion disease. We believe that the method also has a much broader application spectrum. In the present study, we applied RT-QuIC as a pre-screening test for substances that potentially inhibit the aggregation process of the cellular PrP (PrP(C)) to proteinase (PK)-resistant PrP(res). We chose doxycycline as the test substance as it has been tested successfully in animal models and proposed in clinical studies as a therapeutic for prion diseases. The RT-QuIC-reaction was seeded with brain tissue or CSF from sCJD patients and doxycycline was then added in different concentrations as well as at different time points. In both experiments, we observed a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of the RT-QuIC seeding response and a decrease of PK resistant PrP(res) when doxycycline was added. In contrast, ampicillin or sucrose had no effect on the RT-QuIC seeding response. Our study is the first to apply RT-QuIC as a pre-screening assay for compounds inhibiting the PrP aggregation in vitro and confirms that doxycycline is an efficient inhibitor of the PrP aggregation process in RT-QuIC analysis.
Project description:Since 2005, two cases of natural bovine spongiform encephalopathies (BSE) have been reported in goats. Furthermore, experimental transmissions of classical (C-BSE) and atypical (L-BSE) forms of BSE in goats were also reported. To minimize further spreading of prion diseases in small ruminants the development of a highly sensitive and specific test for ante-mortem detection of infected animals would be of great value. Recent studies reported high diagnostic value of a second generation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) assay across a wide spectrum of human prions. Here, we applied this improved QuIC (IQ-CSF) for highly efficient detection of TSEs prion protein in goat cerebrospinal fluid. IQ-CSF sensitivity and specificity were evaluated on CSF samples collected at disease endpoint from goats naturally and experimentally infected with scrapie or bovine isolates of C-BSE and L-BSE, respectively. Next, CSF samples collected from L-BSE infected goats during pre-symptomatic stage were also analysed. PrPL-BSE associated seeding activity was detected at early time points after experimental inoculation, with an average time of 439 days before clinical symptoms appeared. Taken together these data are indicative of the great potential of this in vitro prion amplification assay as ante-mortem TSE test for live and asymptomatic small ruminants.
Project description:Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) is a rapid, specific and highly sensitive prion seeding activity detection assay that uses recombinant prion protein (rPrPSen) to detect subinfectious levels of the abnormal isoforms of the prion protein (PrPSc). Although RT-QuIC has been successfully used to detect PrPSc in various tissues from humans and animals, including sheep, tissues from goats infected with classical scrapie have not yet been tested. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to (1) evaluate whether prion seeding activity could be detected in the brain tissues of goats with scrapie using RT-QuIC, (2) optimize reaction conditions to improve scrapie detection in goats, and (3) compare the performance of RT-QuIC for the detection of PrPSc with the more commonly used ELISA and Western blot assays. We further optimized RT-QuIC conditions for sensitive and specific detection of goat scrapie seeding activity in brain tissue from clinical animals. When used with 200? mM sodium chloride, both full-length sheep rPrPSen substrates (PrP genotypes A136R154Q171 and V136R154Q171) provided good discrimination between scrapie-infected and normal goat brain samples at 10(-?)3 dilution within 15 ?h. Our findings indicate that RT-QuIC was at least 10,000-fold more sensitive than ELISA and Western blot assays for the detection of scrapie seeding activity in goat brain samples. In addition to PRNP WT samples, positive RT-QuIC reactions were also observed with three PRNP polymorphic goat brain samples (G/S127, I/M142 and H/R143) tested. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that RT-QuIC sensitively detects prion seeding activity in classical scrapie-infected goat brain samples.
Project description:Different transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE)-associated forms of prion protein (e.g. PrP(Sc)) can vary markedly in ultrastructure and biochemical characteristics, but each is propagated in the host. PrP(Sc) propagation involves conversion from its normal isoform, PrP(C), by a seeded or templated polymerization mechanism. Such a mechanism is also the basis of the RT-QuIC and eQuIC prion assays which use recombinant PrP (rPrP(Sen)) as a substrate. These ultrasensitive detection assays have been developed for TSE prions of several host species and sample tissues, but not for murine models which are central to TSE pathogenesis research. Here we have adapted RT-QuIC and eQuIC to various murine prions and evaluated how seeding activity depends on glycophosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchoring and the abundance of amyloid plaques and protease-resistant PrP(Sc) (PrP(Res)). Scrapie brain dilutions up to 10(-8) and 10(-13) were detected by RT-QuIC and eQuIC, respectively. Comparisons of scrapie-affected wild-type mice and transgenic mice expressing GPI anchorless PrP showed that, although similar concentrations of seeding activity accumulated in brain, the heavily amyloid-laden anchorless mouse tissue seeded more rapid reactions. Next we compared seeding activities in the brains of mice with similar infectivity titers, but widely divergent PrP(Res) levels. For this purpose we compared the 263K and 139A scrapie strains in transgenic mice expressing P101L PrP(C). Although the brains of 263K-affected mice had little immunoblot-detectable PrP(Res), RT-QuIC indicated that seeding activity was comparable to that associated with a high-PrP(Res) strain, 139A. Thus, in this comparison, RT-QuIC seeding activity correlated more closely with infectivity than with PrP(Res) levels. We also found that eQuIC, which incorporates a PrP(Sc) immunoprecipitation step, detected seeding activity in plasma from wild-type and anchorless PrP transgenic mice inoculated with 22L, 79A and/or RML scrapie strains. Overall, we conclude that these new mouse-adapted prion seeding assays detect diverse types of PrP(Sc).
Project description:The development of in vitro amplification systems allows detecting femtomolar amounts of prion protein scrapie (PrP(Sc)) in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We performed a CSF study to determine the effects of prion disease type, codon 129 genotype, PrP(Sc) type, and other disease-related factors on the real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) response. We analyzed times to 10,000 relative fluorescence units, areas under the curve and the signal maximum of RT-QuIC response as seeding parameters of interest. Interestingly, type of prion disease (sporadic vs. genetic) and the PRNP mutation (E200K vs. V210I and FFI), codon 129 genotype, and PrP(Sc) type affected RT-QuIC response. In genetic forms, type of mutation showed the strongest effect on the observed outcome variables. In sporadic CJD, MM1 patients displayed a higher RT-QuIC signal maximum compared to MV1 and VV1. Age and gender were not associated with RT-QuIC signal, but patients with a short disease course showed a higher seeding efficiency of the RT-QuIC response. This study demonstrated that PrP(Sc) characteristics in the CSF of human prion disease patients are associated with disease subtypes and rate of decline as defined by disease duration.
Project description:Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases, are a uniformly fatal family of neurodegenerative diseases in mammals that includes chronic wasting disease (CWD) of cervids. The early and ante-mortem identification of TSE-infected individuals using conventional western blotting or immunohistochemistry (IHC) has proven difficult, as the levels of infectious prions in readily obtainable samples, including blood and bodily fluids, are typically beyond the limits of detection. The development of amplification-based seeding assays has been instrumental in the detection of low levels of infectious prions in clinical samples. In the present study, we evaluated the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of CWD-exposed (n=44) and naïve (n=4) deer (n=48 total) for CWD prions (PrP(d)) using two amplification assays: serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification with polytetrafluoroethylene beads (sPMCAb) and real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC) employing a truncated Syrian hamster recombinant protein substrate. Samples were evaluated blindly in parallel with appropriate positive and negative controls. Results from amplification assays were compared to one another and to obex immunohistochemistry, and were correlated to available clinical histories including CWD inoculum source (e.g. saliva, blood), genotype, survival period, and duration of clinical signs. We found that both sPMCAb and RT-QuIC were capable of amplifying CWD prions from cervid CSF, and results correlated well with one another. Prion seeding activity in either assay was observed in approximately 50% of deer with PrP(d) detected by IHC in the obex region of the brain. Important predictors of amplification included duration of clinical signs and time of first tonsil biopsy positive results, and ultimately the levels of PrP(d) identified in the obex by IHC. Based on our findings, we expect that both sPMCAb and RT-QuIC may prove to be useful detection assays for the detection of prions in CSF.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Prion disease is neurodegenerative disease that is typically fatal within months of first symptoms. Clinical trials in this rapidly declining symptomatic patient population have proven challenging. Individuals at high lifetime risk for genetic prion disease can be identified decades before symptom onset and provide an opportunity for early therapeutic intervention. However, randomizing pre-symptomatic carriers to a clinical endpoint is not numerically feasible. We therefore launched a cohort study in pre-symptomatic genetic prion disease mutation carriers and controls with the goal of evaluating biomarker endpoints that may enable informative trials in this population. METHODS:We collected cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood from pre-symptomatic individuals with prion protein gene (PRNP) mutations (N =?27) and matched controls (N =?16), in a cohort study at Massachusetts General Hospital. We quantified total prion protein (PrP) and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) prion seeding activity in CSF and neuronal damage markers total tau (T-tau) and neurofilament light chain (NfL) in CSF and plasma. We compared these markers cross-sectionally, evaluated short-term test-retest reliability over 2-4?months, and conducted a pilot longitudinal study over 10-20?months. RESULTS:CSF PrP levels were stable on test-retest with a mean coefficient of variation of 7% for both over 2-4?months in N =?29 participants and over 10-20?months in N =?10 participants. RT-QuIC was negative in 22/23 mutation carriers. The sole individual with positive RT-QuIC seeding activity at two study visits had steady CSF PrP levels and slightly increased tau and NfL concentrations compared with the others, though still within the normal range, and remained asymptomatic 1 year later. T-tau and NfL showed no significant differences between mutation carriers and controls in either CSF or plasma. CONCLUSIONS:CSF PrP will be interpretable as a pharmacodynamic readout for PrP-lowering therapeutics in pre-symptomatic individuals and may serve as an informative surrogate biomarker in this population. In contrast, markers of prion seeding activity and neuronal damage do not reliably cross-sectionally distinguish mutation carriers from controls. Thus, as PrP-lowering therapeutics for prion disease advance, "secondary prevention" based on prodromal pathology may prove challenging; instead, "primary prevention" trials appear to offer a tractable paradigm for trials in pre-symptomatic individuals.
Project description:Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common human prion disease, is transmissible through iatrogenic routes due to abundant infectious prions [misfolded forms of the prion protein (PrPSc)] in the central nervous system (CNS). Some epidemiological studies have associated sCJD risk with non-CNS surgeries. We explored the potential prion seeding activity and infectivity of skin from sCJD patients. Autopsy or biopsy skin samples from 38 patients [21 sCJD, 2 variant CJD (vCJD), and 15 non-CJD] were analyzed by Western blotting and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) for PrPSc Skin samples from two patients were further examined for prion infectivity by bioassay using two lines of humanized transgenic mice. Western blotting revealed dermal PrPSc in one of five deceased sCJD patients and one of two vCJD patients. However, the more sensitive RT-QuIC assay detected prion seeding activity in skin from all 23 CJD decedents but not in skin from any non-CJD control individuals (with other neurological conditions or other diseases) during blinded testing. Although sCJD patient skin contained ~103- to 105-fold lower prion seeding activity than did sCJD patient brain tissue, all 12 mice from two transgenic mouse lines inoculated with sCJD skin homogenates from two sCJD patients succumbed to prion disease within 564 days after inoculation. Our study demonstrates that the skin of sCJD patients contains both prion seeding activity and infectivity, which raises concerns about the potential for iatrogenic sCJD transmission via skin.
Project description:A definitive pre-mortem diagnosis of prion disease depends on brain biopsy for prion detection currently and no validated alternative preclinical diagnostic tests have been reported to date. To determine the feasibility of using skin for preclinical diagnosis, here we report ultrasensitive serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assays of skin samples from hamsters and humanized transgenic mice (Tg40h) at different time points after intracerebral inoculation with 263K and sCJDMM1 prions, respectively. sPMCA detects skin PrPSc as early as 2 weeks post inoculation (wpi) in hamsters and 4 wpi in Tg40h mice; RT-QuIC assay reveals earliest skin prion-seeding activity at 3 wpi in hamsters and 20 wpi in Tg40h mice. Unlike 263K-inoculated animals, mock-inoculated animals show detectable skin/brain PrPSc only after long cohabitation periods with scrapie-infected animals. Our study provides the proof-of-concept evidence that skin prions could be a biomarker for preclinical diagnosis of prion disease.
Project description:Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) allows the amplification of miniscule amounts of scrapie prion protein (PrP(Sc)). Recent studies applied the RT-QuIC methodology to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for diagnosing human prion diseases. However, to date, there has not been a formal multi-centre assessment of the reproducibility, validity and stability of RT-QuIC in this context, an indispensable step for establishment as a diagnostic test in clinical practice. In the present study, we analysed CSF from 110 prion disease patients and 400 control patients using the RT-QuIC method under various conditions. In addition, "blinded" ring trials between different participating sites were performed to estimate reproducibility. Using the previously established cut-off of 10,000 relative fluorescence units (rfu), we obtained a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity of 99%. The multi-centre inter-laboratory reproducibility of RT-QuIC revealed a Fleiss' kappa value of 0.83 (95% CI: 0.40-1.00) indicating an almost perfect agreement. Moreover, we investigated the impact of short-term CSF storage at different temperatures, long-term storage, repeated freezing and thawing cycles and the contamination of CSF with blood on the RT-QuIC seeding response. Our data indicated that the PrP(Sc) seed in CSF is stable to any type of storage condition but sensitive to contaminations with blood (>1250 erythrocytes/μL), which results in a false negative RT-QuIC response. Fresh blood-contaminated samples (3 days) can be rescued by removal of erythrocytes. The present study underlines the reproducibility and high stability of RT-QuIC across various CSF storage conditions with a remarkable sensitivity and specificity, suggesting RT-QuIC as an innovative and robust diagnostic method.