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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISSEMINATION OF ABNORMAL PRION PROTEIN IN THE NEURAL AND EXTRANEURAL TISSUES OF WILD ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK
2009 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to describe the dissemination pattern of abnormal prion protein in the tissues of captive and free ranging Rocky Mountain elk.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Describe the distribution and characteristics of abnormal prion protein in the neural and extraneural tissues of captive and free ranging elk with clinical and preclinical chronic wasting disease.

Experimental Design: The CWD status of Rocky Mountain elk will be determined by live animal biopsy of rectal mucosal lymphoid tissues from Rocky Mountain elk. Immunohistochemistry of the biopsy sample is performed using methods developed by the cooperator and ARS. Elk with positive test results are euthanized and tissues collected from neural and extraneural tissues. A panel of 25 tissues per animal is examined with a battery of antibody based and histologic methods for evidence of abnormal prion protein accumulation and evidence of spongiform encephalopathy. ARS will analyze the open reading frame of the prion protein in each animal. Documents SCA with Colorado State University.


3.Progress Report

The purpose of this new SCA is to describe the distribution and characteristics of abnormal prion protein in the neural and extraneural tissues of captive and free ranging elk with clinical and preclinical chronic wasting disease in order to improve the sensitivity of antemortem tests for chronic wasting disease in deer and elk. Data on the use of the rectal biopsy for antemortem testing was generated and published. The project is monitored by the ADODR by frequent telephone conferences, electronic exchange of data, and consultation during an international meeting.


Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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