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Abstract zur Publikation: Widespread PrPSc accumulation in muscles of hamsters orally infected with scrapie

Thomzig A, Kratzel C, Lenz G, Krüger D, Beekes M (2003): Widespread PrPSc accumulation in muscles of hamsters orally infected with scrapie.
EMBO Reports 4 (5): 530-533.

Scrapie, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and chronic wasting disease are orally communicable, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). As zoonotic transmissions of TSE agents may pose a risk to human health, the identification of reservoirs for infectivity in animal tissues and their exclusion from human consumption has become a matter of great importance for consumer protection. In this study, a variety of muscles from hamsters that were orally challenged with scrapie was screened for the presence of a molecular marker for TSE infection, PrPSc (the pathological isoform of the prion protein PrP). Sensitive western blotting revealed consistent PrPSc accumulation in skeletal muscles from forelimb and hindlimb, head, back and shoulder, and in tongue. Previously, our animal model has provided substantial baseline information about the peripheral routing of infection in naturally occurring and orally acquired ruminant TSEs. Therefore, the findings described here highlight further the necessity to investigate thoroughly whether muscles of TSE-infected sheep, cattle, elk and deer contain infectious agents.

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