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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Virus and Prion Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #361032

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

Location: Virus and Prion Research

Title: Scrapie in white-tailed deer: a strain of the CWD agent that efficiently transmits to sheep?

item Greenlee, Justin
item KOKEMULLER, ROBYN - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item MOORE, S - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item WEST GREENLEE, M - Iowa State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/29/2019
Publication Date: 5/15/2019
Citation: Greenlee, J.J., Kokemuller, R.D., Moore, S.J., West Greenlee, M.H. 2019. Scrapie in white-tailed deer: a strain of the CWD agent that efficiently transmits to sheep? Prion. 13. Article 223.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of sheep and goats that is associated with widespread accumulation of abnormal prion protein (PrPSc) in the central nervous and lymphoid tissues. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is the natural prion disease of cervid species, and the tissue distribution of PrPSc in affected cervids is similar to scrapie in sheep. There are several lines of evidence that suggest that multiple strains of CWD exist, which may affect the agent’s potential to transmit to hosts of the same or different species. We inoculated white-tailed deer with the scrapie agent from ARQ/ARQ sheep, which resulted in 100% attack rates by either the intracranial or oronasal route of inoculation. When examining tissues from the brainstems or lymphoid tissues by traditional diagnostic methods such as immunohistochemistry or western blots, it is difficult to differentiate tissues from deer infected with scrapie from those infected with CWD. However, there are several important differences between tissues from scrapie-infected white-tailed deer (WTD scrapie) and those infected with CWD (WTD CWD). First, there are different patterns of PrPSc deposition in the brains of infected deer: brain tissues from deer with WTD scrapie had predominantly particulate and stellate immunoreactivity whereas those from deer with WTD-CWD had large aggregates and plaque-like staining. Secondly, the incubation periods of WTD scrapie isolates are longer than CWD isolates in mice expressing cervid prion protein. Most notably, the transmission potential of these two isolates back to sheep is distinctly different. Attempts to transmit various CWD isolates to sheep by the oral or oronasal routes have been unsuccessful despite observation periods of up to 7 years. However, WTD scrapie efficiently transmitted back to sheep by the oronasal route. Upon transmission back to sheep, the WTD scrapie isolate exhibited different phenotypic properties when compared to the sheep receiving the original sheep scrapie inoculum including different genotype susceptibilities, distinct PrPSc deposition patterns, and much more rapid incubation periods in transgenic mice expressing the ovine prion protein. The scrapie agent readily transmits between sheep and deer after oronasal exposure. This could confound the identication of CWD strains in deer and the eradication of scrapie from sheep.