Atypical PrPsc distribution in goats naturally affected with scrapie

G Sofianidis, V Psychas, C Billinis, V Spyrou, S Argyroudis, I Vlemmas
Journal of Comparative Pathology 2008, 138 (2-3): 90-101
The brain and spinal cord of 48 goats from two Greek herds in which scrapie had been reported were examined. All animals were symptomless at the time of euthanasia. Notably, no lesions were observed either at the level of the obex or at other regions of the brain and spinal cord. Immunohistochemical examination revealed PrPsc labelling of the linear and fine punctuate types, mainly in the cerebral cortices, of 36 goats. Twenty-seven of them were negative by ELISA (designed to detect proteinase-resistant PrP) at the level of the obex but positive in a pooled brain sample, and the majority carried PrP genotypes associated with scrapie susceptibility. Surprisingly, in 16 of the 27 animals, PrPsc deposits were detected only in the rostral parts of the brain. In addition, nine animals which were ELISA-positive at the level of the obex exhibited positive immunoreactivity, but not in the dorsal vagal nucleus. The findings indicate that this unusual scrapie type may have been underdiagnosed previously and may be of importance in scrapie surveillance programmes.

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