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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Virus and Prion Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #326168

Title: Scrapie in swine: a diagnostic challenge

item Greenlee, Justin
item Kunkle, Robert
item SMITH, JODI - Iowa State University
item WEST-GREENLEE, M - Iowa State University

Submitted to: Prion
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/4/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: A naturally occurring prion disease has not been recognized in swine, but the agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy does transmit to swine by experimental routes. Swine are thought to have a robust species barrier when exposed to the naturally occurring prion diseases of other species, but the susceptibility of swine to the agent of sheep scrapie has not been thoroughly tested. Since swine can be fed rations containing ruminant derived components in the United States and many other countries, we conducted this experiment to test the susceptibility of swine to U.S. scrapie isolates by intracranial and oral inoculation. Scrapie inoculum was a pooled 10% (w/v) homogenate derived from the brains of clinically ill sheep from the 4th passage of a serial passage study of the U.S scrapie agent (No. 13-7) through susceptible sheep that were homozygous ARQ at prion protein residues 136, 154, and 171, respectively. Pigs were inoculated intracranially (n=19) with a single 0.75 ml dose or orally (n=24) with 15 ml repeated on 4 consecutive days. Necropsies were done on a subset of animals at approximately six months post inoculation (PI), at the time the pigs were expected to reach market weight. Remaining pigs were maintained and monitored for clinical signs of TSE until study termination at 80 months PI or when removed due to intercurrent disease (primarily lameness). Brain samples were examined by immunohistochemistry (IHC), western blot (WB), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Brain tissue from a subset of pigs in each inoculation group was used for bioassay in mice expressing porcine PRNP. At six-months PI, no evidence of scrapie infection was noted by any diagnostic method. However, at 51 months of incubation or greater, 5 animals were positive by one or more methods: IHC (n=4), WB (n=3), or ELISA (n=5). Interestingly, positive bioassay results were obtained from all inoculated groups (oral and intracranial; market weight and end of study). Swine inoculated with the agent of scrapie by the intracranial and oral routes do not accumulate abnormal prion protein (PrPSc) to a level detectable by IHC or WB by the time they reach typical market age and weight. However, strong support for the fact that swine are potential hosts for the agent of scrapie comes from positive bioassay from both intracranially and orally inoculated pigs and multiple diagnostic methods demonstrating abnormal prion protein in intracranially inoculated pigs with long incubation times.