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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Virus and Prion Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #353091

Research Project: Pathobiology, Genetics, and Detection of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

Location: Virus and Prion Research

Title: The agent of chronic wasting disease from pigs is infectious in transgenic mice expressing human PRNP

item MOORE, S - Orise Fellow
item Kokemuller, Robyn
item WEST-GREENLEE, M - Iowa State University
item BALKEMA-BUSCHMANN, ANNE - Friedrich-Loeffler-institut
item GROSCHUP, MARTIN - Friedrich-Loeffler-institut
item Greenlee, Justin

Submitted to: Prion
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2018
Publication Date: 5/22/2018
Citation: Moore, S.J., Kokemuller, R.D., West-Greenlee, M.H., Balkema-Buschmann, A., Groschup, M.H., Greenlee, J.J. 2018. The agent of chronic wasting disease from pigs is infectious in transgenic mice expressing human PRNP. Prion 2018, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, May 22-25, 2018. Paper No. WA15, page 44.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: We have previously shown that the chronic wasting disease (CWD) agent from white-tailed deer can be transmitted to domestic pigs via intracranial or oral inoculation although with low attack rates and restricted PrPSc accumulation. The objective of this study was to assess the potential for cross-species transmission of pig-passaged CWD using bioassay in transgenic mice. Transgenic mice expressing human (Tg40), bovine (TgBovXV) or porcine (Tg002) PRNP were inoculated intracranially with 1% brain homogenate from a pig that had been intracranially inoculated with a pool of CWD from white-tailed deer. This pig developed neurological clinical signs, was euthanized at 64 months post-inoculation, and PrPSc was detected in the brain. Mice were monitored daily for clinical signs of disease until the end of the study. Mice were considered positive if PrPSc was detected in the brain using an enzyme immunoassay (EIA). In transgenic mice expressing porcine prion protein the average incubation period was 167 days post-inoculation (dpi) and 3/27 mice were EIA positive (attack rate = 11%). All 3 mice were found dead and clinical signs were not noted prior to death. One transgenic mouse expressing bovine prion protein was euthanized due to excessive scratching at 617 dpi and 2 mice culled at the end of the study at 700 dpi were EIA positive resulting in an overall attack rate of 3/16 (19%). None of the transgenic mice expressing human prion protein that died or were euthanized up to 769 dpi were EIA positive and at study end point at 800 dpi 2 mice had positive EIA results (overall attack rate = 2/20 = 10%). The EIA optical density (OD) readings for all positive mice were at the lower end of the reference range (positive mice range, OD = 0.266-0.438; test positive reference range, OD = 0.250-4.000). To the authors’ knowledge, cervid-derived CWD isolates have not been successfully transmitted to transgenic mice expressing human prion protein. The successful transmission of pig-passaged CWD to Tg40 mice reported here suggests that passage of the CWD agent through pigs results in a change of the transmission characteristics which reduces the transmission barrier of Tg40 mice to the CWD agent. If this biological behavior is recapitulated in the original host species, passage of the CWD agent through pigs could potentially lead to increased pathogenicity of the CWD agent in humans.