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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: TRANSMISSION, DIFFERENTIATION, AND PATHOBIOLOGY OF TRANSMISSIBLE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHIES

Location: Virus and Prion Research

Title: Disease-associated prion protein detected in lymphoid tissues from pigs challenged with the agent of chronic wasting disease

Author
item Moore, Sarah
item Kunkle, Robert
item Kondru, Naveen
item Manne, Sireesha
item Smith, Jodi
item Kanthasamy, Anumantha
item West Greenlee, M
item Greenlee, Justin

Submitted to: Prion
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Aims: Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a naturally-occurring, fatal neurodegenerative disease of cervids. We previously demonstrated that disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) can be detected in the brain and retina from pigs challenged intracranially or orally with the CWD agent. In that study, neurological signs consistent with prion disease were observed only in one pig: an intracranially challenged pig that was euthanized at 64 months post-challenge. The purpose of this study was to use an antigen-capture immunoassay (EIA) and real-time quaking-induced conversion (QuIC) to determine whether PrPSc is present in lymphoid tissues from pigs challenged with the CWD agent. Methods: At two months of age, crossbred pigs were challenged by the intracranial route (n=20), oral route (n=19), or were left unchallenged (n=9). At approximately 6 months of age, the time at which commercial pigs reach market weight, half of the pigs in each group were culled (<6 month challenge groups). The remaining pigs (>6 month challenge groups) were allowed to incubate for up to 73 months post challenge (mpc). The retropharyngeal lymph node (RPLN) was screened for the presence of PrPSc by EIA and immunohistochemistry (IHC). The RPLN, palatine tonsil, and mesenteric lymph node (MLN) from 6-7 pigs per challenge group were also tested using EIA and QuIC. Results: PrPSc was not detected by EIA and IHC in any RPLNs. All tonsils and MLNs were negative by IHC, though the MLN from one pig in the oral <6 month group was positive by EIA. PrPSc was detected by QuIC in at least one of the lymphoid tissues examined in 5/6 pigs in the intracranial <6 months group, 6/7 intracranial >6 months group, 5/6 pigs in the oral <6 months group, and 4/6 oral >6 months group. Overall, the MLN was positive in 14/19 (74%) of samples examined, the RPLN in 8/18 (44%), and the tonsil in 10/25 (40%). Conclusions: This study demonstrates that PrPSc accumulates in lymphoid tissues from pigs challenged intracranially or orally with the CWD agent, and can be detected as early as 4 months after challenge. CWD-infected pigs rarely develop clinical disease and if they do, they do so after a long incubation period. This raises the possibility that CWD-infected pigs could shed prions into their environment long before they develop clinical disease. Furthermore, lymphoid tissues from CWD-infected pigs could present a potential source of CWD infectivity in the animal and human food chains.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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