Submitted to: Veterinary Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2001
Publication Date: 1/3/2002
Citation: Spraker, T.R., Zink, R.R., Cummings, B.A., Wild, M.A., Miller, M.W., O'Rourke, K.I. 2002. Comparison of histological lesions and immunohistochemical staining of proteinase-resistant prion protein in a naturally occurring spongiform encephalopathy of free-ranging mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) with those of chronic wasting disease of captive mule deer. Veterinary Pathology. 39(1):110-119. Interpretive Summary: Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurologic disease of deer and elk. The disorder is found in a limited geographic area of the western US and affects animals in areas with an active hunting program as well as captive animals in research facilities. In this study, the pattern of disease-associated changes in the brain and the distribution of prions, the marker protein for the disease, was compared in free-ranging and captive deer with similar clinical signs of weight loss and behavior changes. There were no significant differences between the two populations and it is probable that the wasting diseases in wild and captive deer are identical.
Technical Abstract: The spongiform encephalopathies of ruminant animals are a heterogenous group of fatal neurological disorders characterized by varying patterns of spongiform change, astrocytosis, gliosis, and accumulation of a proteinase resistant form of the prion protein. In this publication, the investigators describe the lesion pattern and distribution of prion in a sample of free ranging deer with clinical signs of a wasting disorder. These findings are compared to those in a population of captive mule deer with similar clinical signs. The study demonstrates that the disorder in wild deer does not differ from the disorder in captive deer and suggests a common origin.