A lympho-follicular microenvironment is required for pathological prion protein deposition in chronically inflamed tissues from scrapie-affected sheep.
ABSTRACT: In sheep scrapie, pathological prion protein (PrP(Sc)) deposition occurs in the lymphoreticular and central nervous systems. We investigated PrP(Sc) distribution in scrapie-affected sheep showing simultaneous evidence of chronic lymphofollicular, lymphoproliferative/non-lymphofollicular, and/or granulomatous inflammations in their mammary gland, lung, and ileum. To do this, PrP(Sc) detection was carried out via immunohistochemistry and Western Blotting techniques, as well as through inflammatory cell immunophenotyping. Expression studies of gene coding for biological factors modulating the host's inflammatory response were also carried out. We demonstrated that ectopic PrP(Sc) deposition occurs exclusively in the context of lymphofollicular inflammatory sites, inside newly formed and well-organized lymphoid follicles harboring follicular dendritic cells. On the contrary, no PrP(Sc) deposition was detected in granulomas, even when they were closely located to newly formed lymphoid follicles. A significantly more consistent expression of lymphotoxin ? and ? mRNA was detected in lymphofollicular inflammation compared to the other two types, with lymphotoxin ? and ? signaling new lymphoid follicles' formation and, likely, the occurrence of ectopic PrP(Sc) deposition inside them. Our findings suggest that, in sheep co-affected by scrapie and chronic inflammatory conditions, only newly formed lymphoid follicles provide a suitable micro-environment that supports the scrapie agent's replication in inflammatory sites, with an increased risk of prion shedding through body secretions/excretions.
Project description:Ovine scrapie is a member of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), a heterogeneous family of fatal neurologic disorders characterized by deposition of an abnormal isoform (prion protein [PrP] PrP-Sc) of a cellular sialoglycoprotein in neural tissue. PrP-Sc is detectable in some lymphoid tissues of infected sheep months or years before development of clinical disease. Detection of PrP-Sc in these tissues is the basis for live-animal testing. In this study, we characterize the performance of a preclinical diagnostic test for ovine scrapie based on a monoclonal antibody (MAb)-based immunohistochemistry assay of nictitating membrane ("third eyelid")-associated lymphoid tissue. The results of third eyelid immunohistochemistry assay agreed with the scrapie status of the sheep for 41 of 42 clinical suspects with confirmed scrapie and 174 of 175 sheep without scrapie. Third eyelid sampling agreed with the scrapie status for 36 of 41 clinically normal sheep positive for PrP-Sc immunostaining of brain tissue, including 27 sheep with positive biopsy specimens that progressed to clinical disease with confirmed scrapie 3 to 20 months after biopsy. The assay used MAb F89/160.1.5, which binds to residues 142 to 145 of ovine PrP. This antibody can be used in combination with MAb F99/97. 6.1, which binds to residues 220 to 225. One or both MAbs in this cocktail recognize PrP sequences conserved in most mammalian species in which natural TSEs have been reported. Immunohistochemistry assay of routinely formalin-fixed lymphoid tissues with a cocktail of pan-specific MAbs is a practical, readily standardized live-animal and preclinical test for ovine scrapie.
Project description:Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) are permissive to chronic wasting disease (CWD) infection, but their susceptibility to other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) is poorly characterized. In this initial study, we intracerebrally challenged 6 meadow voles with 2 isolates of sheep scrapie. Three meadow voles acquired a TSE after the scrapie challenge and an extended incubation period. The glycoform profile of proteinase K-resistant prion protein (PrP(res)) in scrapie-sick voles remained similar to the sheep inocula, but differed from that of voles clinically affected by CWD. Vacuolization patterns and disease-associated prion protein (PrP(Sc)) deposition were generally similar in all scrapie-affected voles, except in the hippocampus, where PrP(Sc) staining varied markedly among the animals. Our results demonstrate that meadow voles can acquire a TSE after intracerebral scrapie challenge and that this species could therefore prove useful for characterizing scrapie isolates.
Project description:Two cases of unusual transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) were diagnosed on the same farm in ARQ/ARQ PrP sheep showing attributes of both bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and scrapie. These cases, UK-1 and UK-2, were investigated further by transmissions to wild-type and ovine transgenic mice. Lesion profiles (LP) on primary isolation and subpassage, incubation period (IP) of disease, PrP(Sc) immunohistochemical (IHC) deposition pattern and Western blot profiles were used to characterize the prions causing disease in these sheep. Results showed that both cases were compatible with scrapie. The presence of BSE was contraindicated by the following: LP on primary isolation in RIII and/or MR (modified RIII) mice; IP and LP after serial passage in wild-type mice; PrP(Sc) deposition pattern in wild-type mice; and IP and Western blot data in transgenic mice. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry (IHC) revealed that each case generated two distinct PrP(Sc) deposition patterns in both wild-type and transgenic mice, suggesting that two scrapie strains coexisted in the ovine hosts. Critically, these data confirmed the original differential IHC categorization that these UK-1 and UK-2 cases were not compatible with BSE.
Project description:Accumulation of the misfolded prion protein, PrP(Sc) in the central nervous system (CNS) is strongly linked to progressive neurodegenerative disease. For many transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), peripheral lymphoid tissue is an important site of PrP(Sc) amplification but without gross immunological consequence. Susceptible VRQ homozygous New Zealand Cheviot sheep were infected with SSBP/1 scrapie by inoculation in the drainage area of the prescapular lymph nodes. The earliest time that PrP(Sc) was consistently detected by immunohistology in these nodes was D50 post infection. This transcriptomic study of lymph node taken before (D10) and after (D50) the detection of PrP(Sc), aimed to identify the genes and physiological pathways affected by disease progression within the nodes as assessed by PrP(Sc) detection. Affymetrix Ovine Gene arrays identified 75 and 80 genes as differentially-expressed at D10 and D50, respectively, in comparison with control sheep inoculated with uninfected brain homogenate. Approximately 70% of these were repressed at each time point. RT-qPCR analysis of seven genes showed statistically significant correlation with the array data, although the results for IL1RN and TGIF were different between the two technologies. The ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) and general low level of repression of gene expression in lymphoid tissue, including many inflammatory genes, contrasts with the pro-inflammatory and pro-apoptotic events that occur within the CNS at equivalent stages of disease progression as assessed by PrP(Sc) accumulation.
Project description:The pathogenesis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in sheep was studied by immunohistochemical detection of scrapie-associated prion protein (PrP(Sc)) in the gastrointestinal, lymphoid and neural tissues following oral inoculation with BSE brain homogenate. First accumulation of PrP(Sc) was detected after 6 months in the tonsil and the ileal Peyer's patches. At 9 months postinfection, PrP(Sc) accumulation involved all gut-associated lymphoid tissues and lymph nodes as well as the spleen. At this time point, PrP(Sc) accumulation in the peripheral neural tissues was first seen in the enteric nervous system of the caudal jejunum and ileum and in the coeliac-mesenteric ganglion. In the central nervous system, PrP(Sc) was first detected in the dorsal motor nucleus of the nervus Vagus in the medulla oblongata and in the intermediolateral column in the spinal cord segments T7-L1. At subsequent time points, PrP(Sc) was seen to spread within the lymphoid system to also involve all non-gut-associated lymphoid tissues. In the enteric nervous system, further spread of PrP(Sc) involved the neural plexi along the entire gastrointestinal tract and in the CNS the complete neuraxis. These findings indicate a spread of the BSE agent in sheep from the enteric nervous system through parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves to the medulla oblongata and the spinal cord.
Project description:Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) in sheep and goats. In recent years, atypical scrapie cases were identified that differed from classical scrapie in the molecular characteristics of the disease-associated pathological prion protein (PrP(sc)). In this study, we analyze the molecular and neuropathological phenotype of nine Swiss TSE cases in sheep and goats. One sheep was identified as classical scrapie, whereas six sheep, as well as two goats, were classified as atypical scrapie. The latter revealed a uniform electrophoretic mobility pattern of the proteinase K-resistant core fragment of PrP(sc) distinct from classical scrapie regardless of the genotype, the species, and the neuroanatomical structure. Remarkably different types of neuroanatomical PrP(sc) distribution were observed in atypical scrapie cases by both western immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. Our findings indicate that the biodiversity in atypical scrapie is larger than expected and thus impacts on current sampling and testing strategies in small ruminant TSE surveillance.
Project description:Although proteinacious in nature, prions exist as strains with specific self-perpetuating biological properties. Prion strains are thought to be associated with different conformers of PrP(Sc), a disease-associated isoform of the host-encoded cellular protein (PrP(C)). Molecular strain typing approaches have been developed which rely on the characterization of protease-resistant PrP(Sc). However, PrP(Sc) is composed not only of protease-resistant but also of protease-sensitive isoforms. The aim of this work was to develop a protocol for the molecular characterization of both, protease-resistant and protease-sensitive PrP(Sc) aggregates. We first set up experimental conditions which allowed the most advantageous separation of PrP(C) and PrP(Sc) by means of differential centrifugation. The conformational solubility and stability assay (CSSA) was then developed by measuring PrP(Sc) solubility as a function of increased exposure to GdnHCl. Brain homogenates from voles infected with human and sheep prion isolates were analysed by CSSA and showed strain-specific conformational stabilities, with mean [GdnHCl](1/2) values ranging from 1.6 M for MM2 sCJD to 2.1 for scrapie and to 2.8 M for MM1/MV1 sCJD and E200K gCJD. Interestingly, the rank order of [GdnHCl](1/2) values observed in the human and sheep isolates used as inocula closely matched those found following transmission in voles, being MM1 sCJD the most resistant (3.3 M), followed by sheep scrapie (2.2 M) and by MM2 sCJD (1.6 M). In order to test the ability of CSSA to characterise protease-sensitive PrP(Sc), we analysed sheep isolates of Nor98 and compared them to classical scrapie isolates. In Nor98, insoluble PrP(Sc) aggregates were mainly protease-sensitive and showed a conformational stability much lower than in classical scrapie. Our results show that CSSA is able to reveal strain-specified PrP(Sc) conformational stabilities of protease-resistant and protease-sensitive PrP(Sc) and that it is a valuable tool for strain typing in natural hosts, such as humans and sheep.
Project description:Interspecies transmission studies afford the opportunity to better understand the potential host range and origins of prion diseases. The purpose of this experiment was to determine susceptibility of white-tailed deer to the agent of scrapie after intracerebral inoculation and to compare clinical signs and lesions to those reported for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Deer (n = 5) were inoculated with 1 mL of a 10% (wt/vol) brain homogenate derived from a sheep clinically affected with scrapie. A non-inoculated deer was maintained as a negative control. Deer were observed daily for clinical signs of disease and euthanized and necropsied when unequivocal signs of scrapie were noted. One animal died 7 months post inoculation (pi) due to intercurrent disease. Examinations of brain tissue for the presence of the disease-associated abnormal prion protein (PrP(Sc)) by western blot (WB) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were negative whereas IHC of lymphoid tissues was positive. Deer necropsied at 15-22 months pi were positive for scrapie by IHC and WB. Deer necropsied after 20 months pi had clinical signs of depression and progressive weight loss. Tissues with PrP(Sc) immunoreactivity included brain (at levels of cerebrum, hippocampus, colliculus, cerebellum, and brainstem), trigeminal ganglion, neurohypophysis, retina, spinal cord, and various lymphoid tissues including tonsil, retropharyngeal and mesenteric lymph nodes, Peyer's patches, and spleen. This work demonstrates for the first time that white-tailed deer are susceptible to sheep scrapie by intracerebral inoculation. To further test the susceptibility of white-tailed deer to scrapie these experiments will be repeated with a more natural route of inoculation.
Project description:Classical scrapie is a prion disease in sheep and goats. In sheep, susceptibility to disease is genetically influenced by single amino acid substitutions. Genetic breeding programs aimed at enrichment of arginine-171 (171R) prion protein (PrP), the so-called ARR allele, in the sheep population have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing the occurrence of classical scrapie in the field. Understanding the molecular basis for this reduced prevalence would serve the assessment of ARR adaptation. The prion formation mechanism and conversion of PrP from the normal form (PrP(C)) to the scrapie-associated form (PrP(Sc)) could play a key role in this process. Therefore, we investigated whether the ARR allele substantially contributes to scrapie prion formation in naturally infected heterozygous 171Q/R animals. Two methods were applied to brain tissue of 171Q/R heterozygous sheep with natural scrapie to determine the relative amount of the 171R PrP fraction in PrP(res), the proteinase K-resistant PrP(Sc) core. An antibody test differentiating between 171Q and 171R PrP fragments showed that PrP(res) was mostly composed of the 171Q allelotype. Furthermore, using a novel tool for prion research, endoproteinase Lys-C-digested PrP(res) yielded substantial amounts of a nonglycosylated and a monoglycosylated PrP fragment comprising codons 114 to 188. Following two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, only marginal amounts (<9%) of 171R PrP(res) were detected. Enhanced 171R(res) proteolytic susceptibility could be excluded. Thus, these data support a nearly zero contribution of 171R PrP in PrP(res) of 171R/Q field scrapie-infected animals. This is suggestive of a poor adaptation of classical scrapie to this resistance allele under these natural conditions.
Project description:Polymorphisms in the prion protein (PrP) gene are associated with phenotypic expression differences of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in animals and humans. In sheep, at least 10 different mutually exclusive polymorphisms are present in PrP. In this study, we determined the efficiency of the in vitro formation of protease-resistant PrP of nine sheep PrP allelic variants in order to gauge the relative susceptibility of sheep for scrapie. No detectable spontaneous protease-resistant PrP formation occurred under the cell-free conditions used. All nine host-encoded cellular PrP (PrP(C)) variants had distinct conversion efficiencies induced by PrP(Sc) isolated from sheep with three different homozygous PrP genotypes. In general, PrP allelic variants with polymorphisms at either codon 136 (Ala to Val) or codon 141 (Leu to Phe) and phylogenetic wild-type sheep PrP(C) converted with highest efficiency to protease-resistant forms, which indicates a linkage with a high susceptibility of sheep for scrapie. PrP(C) variants with polymorphisms at codons 171 (Gln to Arg), 154 (Arg to His), and to a minor extent 112 (Met to Thr) converted with low efficiency to protease-resistant isoforms. This finding indicates a linkage of these alleles with a reduced susceptibility or resistance for scrapie. In addition, PrP(Sc) with the codon 171 (Gln-to-His) polymorphism is the first variant reported to induce higher conversion efficiencies with heterologous rather than homologous PrP variants. The results of this study strengthen our views on polymorphism barriers and have further implications for scrapie control programs by breeding strategies.