The Scrapie Prevalence in a Goat Herd Is Underestimated by Using a Rapid Diagnostic Test.
ABSTRACT: Current European surveillance regulations for scrapie, a naturally occurring transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) or prion disease in sheep and goats, require testing of fallen stock or healthy slaughter animals, and outline measures in the case of confirmation of disease. An outbreak of classical scrapie in a herd with 2500 goats led to the culling of the whole herd, providing the opportunity to examine a subset of goats, take samples, and examine them for the presence of disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) to provide further information on scrapie test sensitivity, pathology, and association with prion protein genotype. Goats were examined clinically prior to cull, and the brains examined post mortem by Bio-Rad ELISA, a rapid screening test used for active surveillance in sheep and goats, and two confirmatory tests, Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, up to 10 lymphoid tissues were examined by immunohistochemistry. Of 151 goats examined, three (2.0%) tested positive for scrapie by ELISA on brain, confirmed by confirmatory tests, and a further five (3.3%) were negative by ELISA but positive by at least one of the confirmatory tests. Only two of these, both positive by ELISA, displayed evident signs of scrapie. In addition, 10 (6.6%) goats, which also included two clinical suspects, were negative on brain examination but had detectable PrPSc in lymphoid tissue. PrPSc was detected most frequently in the medial retropharyngeal lymph node (LN; 94.4% of all 18 cases) and palatine tonsil (88.9%). Abnormal behavior and circling or loss of balance when blindfolded were the best clinical discriminators for scrapie status. None of the goats that carried a single allele in the prion protein gene associated with increased resistance to scrapie (Q211, K222, S146) were scrapie-positive, and the percentage of goats with these alleles was greater than expected from previous surveys. Significantly more goats that were scrapie-positive were isoleucine homozygous at codon 142 (II142). The results indicate that the sensitivity of the applied screening test is poor in goats compared to the confirmatory tests as gold standard, particularly for asymptomatic animals. Sensitivity of surveillance could be improved by testing retropharyngeal LN or palatine tonsil in addition to brain.
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:Scrapie in goats has been known since 1942, the archetype of prion diseases in which only prion protein (PrP) in misfolded state (PrPSc) acts as infectious agent with fatal consequence. Emergence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) with its zoonotic behaviour and detection in goats enhanced fears that its source was located in small ruminants. However, in goats knowledge on prion strain typing is limited. A European-wide study is presented concerning the biochemical phenotypes of the protease resistant fraction of PrPSc (PrPres) in over thirty brain isolates from transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) affected goats collected in seven countries. Three different scrapie forms were found: classical scrapie (CS), Nor98/atypical scrapie and one case of CH1641 scrapie. In addition, CS was found in two variants-CS-1 and CS-2 (mainly Italy)-which differed in proteolytic resistance of the PrPres N-terminus. Suitable PrPres markers for discriminating CH1641 from BSE (C-type) appeared to be glycoprofile pattern, presence of two triplets instead of one, and structural (in)stability of its core amino acid region. None of the samples exhibited BSE like features. BSE and these four scrapie types, of which CS-2 is new, can be recognized in goats with combinations of a set of nine biochemical parameters.
Project description:Prion diseases are progressive and fatal, neurodegenerative disorders described in humans and animals. According to the "protein-only" hypothesis, the normal host-encoded prion protein (PrPC) is converted into a pathological and infectious form (PrPSc) in these diseases. Transgenic knockout models have shown that PrPC is a prerequisite for the development of prion disease. In Norwegian dairy goats, a mutation (Ter) in the prion protein gene (PRNP) effectively blocks PrPC synthesis. We inoculated 12 goats (4 PRNP+/+, 4 PRNP+/Ter, and 4 PRNPTer/Ter) intracerebrally with goat scrapie prions. The mean incubation time until clinical signs of prion disease was 601 days post-inoculation (dpi) in PRNP+/+ goats and 773 dpi in PRNP+/Ter goats. PrPSc and vacuolation were similarly distributed in the central nervous system (CNS) of both groups and observed in all brain regions and segments of the spinal cord. Generally, accumulation of PrPSc was limited in peripheral organs, but all PRNP+/+ goats and 1 of 4 PRNP+/Ter goats were positive in head lymph nodes. The four PRNPTer/Ter goats remained healthy, without clinical signs of prion disease, and were euthanized 1260 dpi. As expected, no accumulation of PrPSc was observed in the CNS or peripheral tissues of this group, as assessed by immunohistochemistry, enzyme immunoassay, and real-time quaking-induced conversion. Our study shows for the first time that animals devoid of PrPC due to a natural mutation do not propagate prions and are resistant to scrapie. Clinical onset of disease is delayed in heterozygous goats expressing about 50% of PrPC levels.
Project description:After an outbreak of classical scrapie in a dairy goat herd with over 1,800 goats, all goats in the herd were culled in 2008, cleaning and disinfection of the premises was implemented, and restocking with goats took place ~4 months after depopulation. Ten years later the new herd population is over 3,000 goats. This study was carried out to determine whether the measures were effective to prevent re-occurrence of scrapie to the 1% prevalence level seen when scrapie was first detected on this farm. A total of 280 goats with a minimum age of 18 months, which were predominantly at the end of their productive life, were euthanized, and brain and retropharyngeal lymph node examined by immunohistochemistry for disease-associated prion protein. Genotyping was done in all euthanized goats and live male goats used or intended for breeding to determine prion protein gene polymorphisms associated with resistance to classical scrapie. None of the goats presented with disease-associated prion protein in the examined tissues, and 34 (12.2%) carried the K222 allele associated with resistance. This allele was also found in four breeding male goats. The study results suggested that classical scrapie was not re-introduced on this goat farm through mass restocking or inadequate cleaning and disinfection procedures. Further scrapie surveillance of goats on this farm is desirable to confirm absence of disease. Breeding with male goats carrying the K222 allele should be encouraged to increase the scrapie-resistant population.
Project description:The bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent has been transmitted to humans, leading to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Sheep and goats can be experimentally infected by BSE and have been potentially exposed to natural BSE; however, whether BSE can be transmitted to small ruminants is not known. Based on the particular biochemical properties of the abnormal prion protein (PrPsc) associated with BSE, and particularly the increased degradation induced by proteinase K in the N terminal part of PrPsc, we have developed a rapid ELISA designed to distinguish BSE from other scrapie strains. This assay clearly discriminates experimental ovine BSE from other scrapie strains and was used to screen 260 transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE)-infected small ruminant samples identified by the French active surveillance network (2002/2003). In this context, this test has helped to identify the first case of natural BSE in a goat and can be used to classify TSE isolates based on the proteinase K sensitivity of PrPsc.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that naturally occurs in sheep and goats. This fatal neurodegenerative disease results from misfolding of the normal cellular prion protein (PrPC) to a pathogenic prion protein form (PrPSc). This pathogenic form, PrPSc, accumulates in the brain and lymphoid tissues. The presence of PrPSc can be detected by an in vitro conversion assay known as real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC). RT-QuIC has been used to detect PrPSc in a variety of biological tissues from brains to fluids. While this technique is both rapid and sensitive, enhancing the detection of prions would be valuable in the diagnostic laboratories. RESULTS:In this study, we assessed whether PrPSc detection sensitivity of RT-QuIC can be increased by enriching PrPSc in scrapie tissue homogenates using commercially available aggregated protein binding ligands coated magnetic beads (PAD-Beads). Coupling of RT-QuIC to PAD-Beads based cleanup allowed detection of PrPSc rapidly and without dilution of scrapie sheep brain homogenates prior to RT-QuIC. The PAD-Beads sample pretreatment step prior to RT-QuIC is a useful enhancement in the diagnosis of TSEs.
Project description:To assess scrapie infectivity associated with caprine-origin tissues, bioassay can be performed using kids, lambs or transgenic mice expressing caprine or ovine prion (PRNP) alleles, but the incubation periods are fairly long. Although several classical ovine scrapie prion permissive cell lines with the ability to detect brain-derived scrapie prion have been available, no classical caprine scrapie permissive cell line is currently available. Therefore, the aims of this study were to generate a rabbit kidney epithelial cell line (RK13) stably expressing caprine wild-type PRNP (cpRK13) and then to assess permissiveness of cpRK13 cells to classical caprine scrapie prion propagation. The cpRK13 and plasmid control RK13 (pcRK13) cells were incubated with brain-derived classical caprine scrapie inocula prepared from goats or ovinized transgenic mice (Tg338, express ovine VRQ allele) infected with caprine scrapie. Significant PrP(Sc) accumulation, which is indicative of scrapie prion propagation, was detected by TSE ELISA and immunohistochemistry in cpRK13 cells inoculated with classical caprine scrapie inocula. Western blot analysis revealed the typical proteinase K-resistant 3 PrP(res) isoforms in the caprine scrapie prion inoculated cpRK13 cell lysate. Importantly, PrP(Sc) accumulation was not detected in similarly inoculated pcRK13 cells, whether by TSE ELISA, immunohistochemistry, or western blot. These findings suggest that caprine scrapie prions can be propagated in cpRK13 cells, thus this cell line may be a useful tool for the assessment of classical caprine prions in the brain tissues of goats.
Project description:PrPSc [abnormal disease-specific conformation of PrP (prion-related protein)] accumulates in prion-affected individuals in the form of amorphous aggregates. Limited proteolysis of PrPSc results in a protease-resistant core of PrPSc of molecular mass of 27-30 kDa (PrP27-30). Aggregated forms of PrP co-purify with prion infectivity, although infectivity does not always correlate with the presence of PrP27-30. This suggests that discrimination between PrPC (normal cellular PrP) and PrPSc by proteolysis may underestimate the repertoire and quantity of PrPSc subtypes. We have developed a CDI (conformation-dependent immunoassay) utilizing time-resolved fluorescence to study the conformers of disease-associated PrP in natural cases of sheep scrapie, without using PK (proteinase K) treatment to discriminate between PrPC and PrPSc. The capture-detector CDI utilizes N-terminal- and C-terminal-specific anti-PrP monoclonal antibodies that recognize regions of the prion protein differentially buried or exposed depending on the extent of denaturation of the molecule. PrPSc was precipitated from scrapie-infected brain stem and cerebellum tissue following sarkosyl extraction, with or without the use of sodium phosphotungstic acid, and native and denatured PrPSc detected by CDI. PrPSc was detectable in brain tissue from homozygous VRQ (V136 R154 Q171) and ARQ (A136 R154 Q171) scrapie-infected sheep brains. The highest levels of PrPSc were found in homozygous VRQ scrapie-infected brains. The quantity of PrPSc was significantly reduced, up to 90% in some cases, when samples were treated with PK prior to the CDI. Collectively, our results show that the level of PrPSc in brain samples from cases of natural scrapie display genotypic differences and that a significant amount of this material is PK-sensitive.
Project description:Scrapie is a naturally occurring transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of sheep and goats. This fatal neurodegenerative disease is caused by misfolding of the cellular prion protein to pathogenic β-rich conformers (PrPSc) that accumulate in higher order structures of the brain and other tissues. This conversion has been used for in vitro assays including serial protein misfolding amplification and real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC). RT-QuIC can be used for the detection of prions and for strain discrimination in a variety of biological tissues from humans and animals. In this study, we evaluated how PrPSc isolated from sheep of different genotypes after inoculation with the scrapie agent influence the fibril formation in vitro using RT-QuIC. We found that reaction mixtures seeded with PrPSc from genotype VRQ/VRQ sheep brains have better conversion efficiency with 132M elk substrate compared to reactions seeded with PrPSc from the brains of sheep with the ARQ/ARQ genotype no matter which strain of scrapie was used to seed the reactions. We also inoculated transgenic mice expressing 132M elk PRNP (Tg12) with the scrapie agent from different genotypes of sheep to compare with our RT-QuIC results. The bioassays support the data showing a significantly shorter incubation period for inoculum from VRQ/VRQ sheep when compared to inoculum from ARQ/ARQ sheep. Thus, we conclude that the genotype of both source and recipient can strongly influence transmission.
Project description:BACKGROUND: As there is limited information about the clinical signs of BSE and scrapie in goats, studies were conducted to describe the clinical progression of scrapie and BSE in goats and to evaluate a short clinical protocol for its use in detecting scrapie-affected goats in two herds with previously confirmed scrapie cases. Clinical assessments were carried out in five goats intracerebrally infected with the BSE agent as well as five reported scrapie suspects and 346 goats subject to cull from the two herds, 24 of which were retained for further monitoring. The brain and selected lymphoid tissue were examined by postmortem tests for disease confirmation. RESULTS: The sensitivity and specificity of the short clinical protocol in detecting a scrapie case in the scrapie-affected herds was 3.9% and 99.6%, respectively, based on the presence of tremor, positive scratch test, extensive hair loss, ataxia and absent menace response. All BSE- and scrapie-affected goats displayed abnormalities in sensation (over-reactivity to external stimuli, startle responses, pruritus, absent menace response) and movement (ataxia, tremor, postural deficits) at an advanced clinical stage but the first detectable sign associated with scrapie or BSE could vary between animals. Signs of pruritus were not always present despite similar prion protein genotypes. Clinical signs of scrapie were also displayed by two scrapie cases that presented with detectable disease-associated prion protein only in lymphoid tissues. CONCLUSIONS: BSE and scrapie may present as pruritic and non-pruritic forms in goats. Signs assessed for the clinical diagnosis of scrapie or BSE in goats should include postural and gait abnormalities, pruritus and visual impairment. However, many scrapie cases will be missed if detection is solely based on the display of clinical signs. PrPd accumulation in the brain appeared to be related to the severity of clinical disease but not to the display of individual neurological signs.