Submitted to: American College of Veterinary Pathologists Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 2, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was first applied to the study of a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) in 1984. The technique detects a TSE-specific protein, the prion protein (PrP), in brain tissue of clinically affected animals, including human beings. In the last few years, improvements in methodology, reagents, and automation technology have made the IHC technique suitable for routine diagnosis of TSEs. In this paper the evolution of PrP IHC is reviewed and research evidence is presented that documents the sensitivity and specificity of IHC for diagnosis of scrapie, the TSE that occurs in sheep. The test was first compared to the classic diagnostic method, histopathologic examination, and IHC was found to be markedly more sensitive. A subsequent comparison to the most commonly used research technique, western blot assay, showed that the sensitivity of these 2 methods for detection of PrP in clinically affected sheep was equivalent. Currently, the test is being evaluated for its efficacy in detection of preclinically affected animals. For these studies, various lymphoid tissues are being examined.