[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The emergence of the novel prion diseases bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and, subsequently, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in epidemic forms has attracted much scientific attention. The oral transmission of these disorders, the causative relationship of vCJD to BSE and the resistance of the transmissible agents in both disorders to conventional forms of decontamination has caused great public health concern. The size of the still emerging vCJD epidemic is thankfully much lower than some early published estimates. This paper reviews current knowledge of the factors that influence the development of vCJD: the properties of the infectious agent; the route of inoculation and individual susceptibility factors. The current epidemiological data are reviewed, along with relevant animal transmission studies. In terms of genetic susceptibility, the best characterised is the common single nucleotide polymorphism at codon 129 of prion protein gene. Current biomarkers and future areas of research will be discussed. These issues are important in informing precautionary measures and the ongoing monitoring of vCJD.
International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics 08/2011; 2(3):217-27. · 1.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The safety of plasma-derived products is of concern for possible transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The absence of validated screening tests requires the use of procedures to remove or inactivate prions during the manufacture of plasma-derived products to minimize the risk of transmission. These procedures need proper validation studies based on spiking human plasma or intermediate fractions of plasma fractionation with prions in a form as close as possible to that present in blood.
Human albumin was spiked with low-speed or high-speed supernatants of 263K scrapie-infected hamster brain homogenates. Spiked albumin was then passed through a cascade of filters from 100 nm down to 20 to 15 nm. Residual infectivity was measured by bioassay.
The overall removal of infectivity spiked into albumin through serial nanofiltration steps was 4 to 5 logs using low-speed supernatant and 2 to 3 logs with high-speed supernatant.
These findings confirm the utility of nanofiltration in removing infectivity from plasma (or other products) spiked with scrapie brain homogenate supernatants. However, efficiency is diminished using supernatants that have been ultracentrifuged to reduce aggregated forms of the infectious agent. Thus, filtration removal data based on experiments using "standard" low-speed centrifugation supernatants might overestimate the amount of prion removal in plasma or urine-derived therapeutic products.
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