Yuichi Murayama

National Institute of Animal Health, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

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Publications (28)72.96 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Prion diseases are characterized by the prominent accumulation of the misfolded form of a normal cellular protein (PrPSc) in the central nervous system. The pathological features and biochemical properties of PrPSc in macaque monkeys infected with the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) prion have been found to be similar to those of human subjects with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Nonhuman primate models are thus ideally suited for performing valid diagnostic tests and determining the efficacy of potential therapeutic agents. In the current study, we developed a highly efficient method for in vitro amplification of cynomolgus macaque BSE PrPSc. This method involves amplifying PrPSc by protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) using mouse brain homogenate as a PrPC substrate in the presence of sulfated dextran compounds. This method is capable of amplifying very small amounts of PrPSc contained in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and white blood cells (WBCs), as well as in the peripheral tissues of macaques that have been intracerebrally inoculated with the BSE prion. After clinical signs of the disease appeared in three macaques, we detected PrPSc in the CSF by serial PMCA, and the CSF levels of PrPSc tended to increase with disease progression. In addition, PrPSc was detectable in WBCs at the clinical phases of the disease in two of the three macaques. Thus, our highly sensitive, novel method may be useful for furthering the understanding of the tissue distribution of PrPSc in nonhuman primate models of CJD.
    Journal of General Virology 07/2014; · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of disease-associated prion protein (PrP(Sc)) in the skeletal muscle of cattle infected with classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (C-BSE). The study was carried out systematically in 12 different muscle samples from 43 (3 field and 40 experimental) cases of C-BSE; however, muscle spindles were not available in many of these cases. Therefore, analysis became restricted to a total of 31 muscles in 23 cattle. Even after this restriction, low levels of PrP(Sc) were detected in the muscle spindles of the masseter, intercostal, triceps brachii, psoas major, quadriceps femoris and semitendinosus muscles from 3 field and 6 experimental clinical-stage cases. The present data indicate that small amounts of PrP(Sc) are detectable by immunohistochemistry in the skeletal muscles of animals terminally affected with C-BSE.
    Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 08/2013; · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prions, infectious agents associated with transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, are primarily composed of the misfolded and pathogenic form (PrPSc) of the host-encoded prion protein. Because PrPSc retains infectivity after undergoing routine sterilizing processes, the cause of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) outbreaks are suspected to be feeding cattle meat and bone meals (MBMs) contaminated with the prion. To assess the validity of prion inactivation by heat treatment in yellow grease, which is produced in the industrial manufacturing process of MBMs, we pooled, homogenized, and heat treated the spinal cords of BSE-infected cows under various experimental conditions. Prion inactivation was analyzed quantitatively in terms of the infectivity and PrPSc of the treated samples. Following treatment at 140[degree sign]C for 1 h, infectivity was reduced to 1/35 of that of the untreated samples. Treatment at 180[degree sign]C for 3 h was required to reduce infectivity. However, PrPSc was detected in all heat-treated samples by using the protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) technique, which amplifies PrPSc in vitro. Quantitative analysis of the inactivation efficiency of BSE PrPSc was possible with the introduction of the PMCA50, which is the dilution ratio of 10% homogenate needed to yield 50% positivity for PrPSc in amplified samples. Log PMCA50 exhibited a strong linear correlation with the transmission rate in the bioassay; infectivity was no longer detected when the log PMCA50 of the inoculated sample was reduced to 1.75. The quantitative PMCA assay may be useful for safety evaluation for recycling and effective utilization of MBMs as an organic resource.
    BMC Veterinary Research 07/2013; 9(1):134. · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent is resistant to conventional microbial inactivation procedures and thus threatens the safety of cattle products and by-products. To obtain information necessary to assess BSE inactivation, we performed quantitative analysis of wet-heat inactivation of infectivity in BSE-infected cattle spinal cords. Using a highly sensitive bioassay, we found that infectivity in BSE cattle macerates fell with increase in temperatures from 133°C to 150°C and was not detected in the samples subjected to temperatures above 155°C. In dry cattle tissues, infectivity was detected even at 170°C. Thus, BSE infectivity reduces with increase in wet-heat temperatures but is less affected when tissues are dehydrated prior to the wet-heat treatment. The results of the quantitative protein misfolding cyclic amplification assay also demonstrated that the level of the protease-resistant prion protein fell below the bioassay detection limit by wet-heat at 155°C and higher and could help assess BSE inactivation. Our results show that BSE infectivity is strongly resistant to wet-heat inactivation and that it is necessary to pay attention to BSE decontamination in recycled cattle by-products.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2013; · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The central event in prion infection is the conformational conversion of host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) into the pathogenic isoform (PrP(Sc)). Diverse mammalian species possess the cofactors required for in vitro replication of PrP(Sc) by protein-misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA), but lower organisms, such as bacteria, yeasts, and insects, reportedly lack the essential cofactors. Various cellular components, such as RNA, lipids, and other identified cofactor molecules, are commonly distributed in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes, but the reasons for the absence of cofactor activity in lower organisms remain to be elucidated. Previously, we reported that brain-derived factors were necessary for the in vitro replication of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored baculovirus-derived recombinant PrP (Bac-PrP). Here, we demonstrate that following protease digestion and heat treatment, insect cell lysates had the functional cofactor activity required for Bac-PrP replication by PMCA. Mammalian PrP(Sc) seeds and Bac-PrP(Sc) generated by PMCA using Bac-PrP and insect cell-derived cofactors showed similar pathogenicity and produced very similar lesions in the brains of inoculated mice. These results suggested that the essential cofactors required for the high-fidelity replication of mammalian PrP(Sc) were present in the insect cells but that the cofactor activity was masked or inhibited in the native state. We suggest that not only RNA, but also DNA, are the key components of PMCA, although other cellular factors were necessary for the expression of the cofactor activity of nucleic acids. PMCA using only insect cell-derived substances (iPMCA) was highly useful for the ultrasensitive detection of PrP(Sc) of some prion strains.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e82538. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: TO THE EDITOR: A definitive diagnosis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle usually relies on Western blot and immunohistochemical testing of samples from the obex region of the brainstem. These conventional diagnostic tests can detect the presence of the abnormal (disease-associated) form of the prion protein (PrP(Sc)) in brain samples several months before the onset of clinical signs; however, there is no appropriate, universal tool for early preclinical and antemortem diagnosis of BSE. Furthermore, confirmation of the disease is currently only possible by postmortem examination of brain tissues. In this study, we used the serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) technique to determine the presence of PrP(Sc) in saliva samples collected from BSE-infected cows before and after the onset of disease (1).
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 12/2012; 18(12):2091-2. · 6.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prions, infectious agents causing TSEs, are composed primarily of the pathogenic form (PrP(Sc)) of the PrP(C). The susceptibility of sheep to scrapie is determined by polymorphisms in the coding region of the PRNP, mainly at codons 136, 154, and 171. The efficiency of in vitro amplification of sheep PrP(Sc) seems to be linked also to the PrP genotype. PrP(Sc) derived from sheep with V(136)R(154)Q(171)-associated genotypes can be amplified efficiently by PMCA in the presence of additional polyanion such as poly A, but there are no reports that cite ultrasensitive detection of PrP(Sc) derived from sheep of other PrP genotypes. We report here that sheep PrP(Sc) derived from ARQ and AHQ homozygotes was amplified efficiently by serial PMCA using mouse brain homogenate as PrP(C) substrate. ARQ/ARQ PrP(Sc) was detected in infected brain homogenates diluted up to 10(-10) after five rounds of amplification, and AHQ/AHQ PrP(Sc) was detected in samples diluted up to 10(-8) after four rounds of amplification. On the other hand, amplification of PrP(Sc) from VRQ/ARQ sheep seemed to be less efficient under the experimental conditions used. The interspecies PMCA developed in this study may be useful in the detailed analysis of PrP(Sc) distribution in classical scrapie-infected ARQ and AHQ homozygote sheep.
    Microbiology and Immunology 04/2012; 56(8):541-7. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders with no effective therapy currently available. Accumulating evidence has implicated over-activation of P2X7 ionotropic purinergic receptor (P2X7R) in the progression of neuronal loss in several neurodegenerative diseases. This has led to the speculation that simultaneous blockade of this receptor and prion replication can be an effective therapeutic strategy for prion diseases. We have focused on Brilliant Blue G (BBG), a well-known P2X7R antagonist, possessing a chemical structure expected to confer anti-prion activity and examined its inhibitory effect on the accumulation of pathogenic isoforms of prion protein (PrPres) in a cellular and a mouse model of prion disease in order to determine its therapeutic potential. BBG prevented PrPres accumulation in infected MG20 microglial and N2a neural cells at 50% inhibitory concentrations of 14.6 and 3.2 µM, respectively. Administration of BBG in vivo also reduced PrPres accumulation in the brains of mice with prion disease. However, it did not appear to alleviate the disease progression compared to the vehicle-treated controls, implying a complex role of P2X7R on the neuronal degeneration in prion diseases. These results provide novel insights into the pathophysiology of prion diseases and have important implications for the treatment.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e37896. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pathologic disease-associated prion protein (PrP(Sc)) has been shown to be expressed in the central nervous system of Holstein cattle inoculated intracerebrally with 3 sources of classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) isolates. Several regions of the brain and spinal cord were analyzed for PrP(Sc) expression by immunohistochemical and Western blotting analyses. Animals euthanized at 10 months post-inoculation (mpi) showed PrP(Sc) deposits in the brainstem and thalamus, but no vacuolation; this suggested that the BSE agent might exhibit area-dependent tropism in the brain. At 16 and 18 mpi, a small amount of vacuolation was detected in the brainstem and thalamus, but not in the cerebral cortices. At 20 to 24 mpi, when clinical symptoms were apparent, heavy PrP(Sc) deposits were evident throughout the brain and spinal cord. The mean time to the appearance of clinical symptoms was 19.7 mpi, and the mean survival time was 22.7 mpi. These findings show that PrP(Sc) accumulation was detected approximately 10 months before the clinical symptoms of BSE became apparent. In addition, the 3 sources of BSE prion induced no detectable differences in the clinical signs, incubation periods, neuroanatomical location of vacuoles, or distribution and pattern of PrP(Sc) depositions in the brain.
    Japanese journal of infectious diseases. 01/2012; 65(1):37-44.
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    ABSTRACT: The pathogenic isoform (PrP(Sc)) of the host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) is considered to be an infectious agent of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The detailed mechanism by which the PrP(Sc) seed catalyzes the structural conversion of endogenous PrP(C) into nascent PrP(Sc) in vivo still remains unclear. Recent studies reveal that bacterially derived recombinant PrP (recPrP) can be used as a substrate for the in vitro generation of protease-resistant recPrP (recPrP(res)) by protein-misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA). These findings imply that PrP modifications with a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor and asparagine (N)-linked glycosylation are not necessary for the amplification and generation of recPrP(Sc) by PMCA. However, the biological properties of PrP(Sc) obtained by in vivo transmission of recPrP(res) are unique or different from those of PrP(Sc) used as the seed, indicating that the mechanisms mediated by these posttranslational modifications possibly participate in reproductive propagation of PrP(Sc). In the present study, using baculovirus-derived recombinant PrP (Bac-PrP), we demonstrated that Bac-PrP is useful as a PrP(C) substrate for amplification of the mouse scrapie prion strain Chandler, and PrP(Sc) that accumulated in mice inoculated with Bac-PrP(res) had biochemical and pathological properties very similar to those of the PrP(Sc) seed. Since Bac-PrP modified with a GPI anchor and brain homogenate of Prnp knockout mice were both required to generate Bac-PrP(res), the interaction of GPI-anchored PrP with factors in brain homogenates is essential for reproductive propagation of PrP(Sc). Therefore, the Bac-PMCA technique appears to be extremely beneficial for the comprehensive understanding of the GPI anchor-mediated stimulation pathway.
    Journal of Virology 03/2011; 85(6):2582-8. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prions are the infectious agents responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, and are primarily composed of the pathogenic form (PrP(Sc)) of the host-encoded prion protein (PrP(C)). Recent studies have revealed that protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA), a highly sensitive method for PrP(Sc) detection, can overcome the species barrier in several xenogeneic combinations of PrP(Sc) seed and PrP(C) substrate. Although these findings provide valuable insight into the origin and diversity of prions, the differences between PrP(Sc) generated by interspecies PMCA and by in vivo cross-species transmission have not been described. This study investigated the histopathological and biochemical properties of PrP(Sc) in the brains of tga20 transgenic mice inoculated with Sc237 hamster scrapie prion and PrP(Sc) from mice inoculated with Sc237-derived mouse PrP(Sc), which had been generated by interspecies PMCA using Sc237 as seed and normal mouse brain homogenate as substrate. Tga20 mice overexpressing mouse PrP(C) were susceptible to Sc237 after primary transmission. PrP(Sc) in the brains of mice inoculated with Sc237-derived mouse PrP(Sc) and in the brains of mice inoculated with Sc237 differed in their lesion profiles and accumulation patterns, Western blot profiles, and denaturant resistance. In addition, these PrP(Sc) exhibited distinctive virulence profiles upon secondary passage. These results suggest that different in vivo and in vitro environments result in propagation of PrP(Sc) with different biological properties.
    Microbiology and Immunology 03/2011; 55(5):331-40. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Twenty-eight calves were exposed to 5 g of homogenized brainstems confirmed as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agents. Two to five animals were sequentially killed for post-mortem analyses 20 months post-inoculation (MPI) at intervals of 6 or 12 months. Samples from animals challenged orally with BSE agents were examined by Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses. Immunolabelled, disease-associated prion protein (PrPsc) was detected in a small portion of follicles in the continuous Peyer's patch from the posterior portion of the small intestine involving the entire ileum and the posterior jejunum but not in the discrete Peyer's patches in the remaining jejunum in preclinical animals at 20, 36, and 48 MPI. The PrPsc-positive cells corresponded to tingible body macrophages on double immunofluorescence labelling. In addition, PrPsc accumulated in 7 of 14 animals in the central nervous system (CNS) after 34 MPI, and five of them developed clinical signs and were killed at 34, 46, 58, and 66 MPI. Two preclinical animals killed at 36 and 48 MPI presented the earliest detectable and smallest deposition of immunolabelled PrPsc in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve, the spinal trigeminal nucleus of the medulla oblongata at the obex region, and/or the intermediolateral nucleus of the 13th thoracic segment of the spinal cord. Based on serial killing, no PrPsc was detectable in the CNS, including the medulla oblongata at the obex level, before 30 MPI, by Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses. These results are important for understanding the pathogenesis of BSE.
    Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 02/2011; 58(4):333-43. · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The offspring of a beef cow affected with L-type bovine spongiform encephalopathy (L-BSE) was kept in a pen at a BSE-dedicated animal facility till the offspring was 48 months of age. The steer was then euthanized and subjected to a test for BSE. The abnormal isoform of the prion protein was not detected in the brain and spinal cord of the steer. Transmission of L-BSE was not observed during 4 years of observation, though the steer was born when the dam was in the terminal stages of the disease.
    Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 01/2011; 73(1):121-3. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders that are caused by infectious agents known as prions. Prions are composed primarily of the pathogenic prion protein isoform, PrP(Sc). Because significant levels of infectivity have been detected in excrement from animals infected with scrapie and chronic wasting disease, studies on the dynamics of PrP(Sc) levels in contaminated soil are needed to assess the possible horizontal transmission of prion diseases. Using protein misfolding cyclic amplification, we developed a sensitive detection method for scrapie PrP(Sc) that is mixed with soil. Our detection method has the advantage of not requiring extraction of PrP(Sc) from soil and could provide a sensitivity 1000 to 10,000 times higher than that obtained with an extraction-based method. In addition, we found that PrP(Sc) levels in experimentally contaminated agricultural soils declined to different extents over the course of a 6-month incubation period. Our method appears to be a very useful technique for monitoring PrP(Sc) levels in soil.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 07/2010; 397(3):626-30. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We recently reported the intraspecies transmission of L-type atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). To clarify the peripheral pathogenesis of L-type BSE, we studied prion distribution in nerve and lymphoid tissues obtained from experimentally challenged cattle. As with classical BSE prions, L-type BSE prions accumulated in central and peripheral nerve tissues.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 07/2010; 16(7):1151-4. · 6.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prions, infectious agents associated with prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, and scrapie in sheep and goats, are primarily comprised of PrP(Sc), a protease-resistant misfolded isoform of the cellular prion protein PrP(C). Protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) is a highly sensitive technique used to detect minute amounts of scrapie PrP(Sc). However, the current PMCA technique has been unsuccessful in achieving good amplification in cattle. The detailed distribution of PrP(Sc) in BSE-affected cattle therefore remains unknown. We report here that PrP(Sc) derived from BSE-affected cattle can be amplified ultra-efficiently by PMCA in the presence of sulfated dextran compounds. This method is capable of amplifying very small amounts of PrP(Sc) from the saliva, palatine tonsils, lymph nodes, ileocecal region, and muscular tissues of BSE-affected cattle. Individual differences in the distribution of PrP(Sc) in spleen and cerebrospinal fluid samples were observed in terminal-stage animals. However, the presence of PrP(Sc) in blood was not substantiated in the BSE-affected cattle examined. The distribution of PrP(Sc) is not restricted to the nervous system and can spread to peripheral tissues in the terminal disease stage. The finding that PrP(Sc) could be amplified in the saliva of an asymptomatic animal suggests a potential usefulness of this technique for BSE diagnosis. This highly sensitive method also has other practical applications, including safety evaluation or safety assurance of products and byproducts manufactured from bovine source materials.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(10). · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sheep scrapie is caused by multiple prion strains, which have been classified on the basis of their biological characteristics in inbred mice. The heterogeneity of natural scrapie prions in individual sheep and in sheep flocks has not been clearly defined. In this study, we intravenously injected 2 sheep (Suffolk and Corriedale) with material from a natural case of sheep scrapie (Suffolk breed). These 3 sheep had identical prion protein (PrP) genotypes. The protease-resistant core of PrP (PrPres) in the experimental Suffolk sheep was similar to that in the original Suffolk sheep. In contrast, PrPres in the Corriedale sheep differed from the original PrPres but resembled the unusual scrapie isolate, CH1641. This unusual PrPres was not detected in the original sheep. The PrPres distributions in the brain and peripheral tissues differed between the 2 breeds of challenged sheep. A transmission study in wild-type and TgBoPrP mice, which overexpressing bovine PrP, led to the selection of different prion strains. The pathological features of prion diseases are thought to depend on the dominantly propagated strain. Our results indicate that prion strain selection occurs after both inter- and intraspecies transmission. The unusual scrapie prion was a hidden or an unexpressed component in typical sheep scrapie.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(11):e15450. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been assumed that the agent causing BSE in cattle is a uniform strain (classical BSE); however, different neuropathological and molecular phenotypes of BSE (atypical BSE) have been recently reported. We demonstrated the successful transmission of L-type-like atypical BSE detected in Japan (BSE/JP24 isolate) to cattle. Based on the incubation period, neuropathological hallmarks, and molecular properties of the abnormal host prion protein, the characteristics of BSE/JP24 prion were apparently distinguishable from the classical BSE prion and closely resemble those of bovine amyloidotic spongiform encephalopathy prion detected in Italy.
    Microbiology and Immunology 12/2009; 53(12):704-7. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders, and the conformational conversion of normal cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) into its pathogenic, amyloidogenic isoform (PrP(Sc)) is the essential event in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Lactoferrin (LF) is a cationic iron-binding glycoprotein belonging to the transferrin (TF) family, which accumulates in the amyloid deposits in the brain in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Pick's disease. In the present study, we have examined the effects of LF on PrP(Sc) formation by using cell culture models. Bovine LF inhibited PrP(Sc) accumulation in scrapie-infected cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner, whereas TF was not inhibitory. Bioassays of LF-treated cells demonstrated prolonged incubation periods compared with non-treated cells indicating a reduction of prion infectivity. LF mediated the cell surface retention of PrP(C) by diminishing its internalization and was capable of interacting with PrP(C) in addition to PrP(Sc). Furthermore, LF partially inhibited the formation of protease-resistant PrP as determined by the protein misfolding cyclic amplification assay. Our results suggest that LF has multifunctional antiprion activities.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 09/2008; 107(3):636-46. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prions, infectious agents causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), are composed primarily of the pathogenic form (PrP(Sc)) of the host-encoded prion protein. Although very low levels of infectivity have been detected in urine from scrapie-infected rodents, no reports of urinary PrP(Sc) have been substantiated. Studies on the dynamics of urinary PrP(Sc) during infection are needed to ensure the safety of urine-derived biopharmaceuticals and to assess the possible horizontal transmission of prion diseases. Using the protein misfolding cyclic amplification technique, a time-course study of urinary excretion and blood levels of PrP(Sc) was performed in Sc237-infected hamsters and a high rate of PrP(Sc) excretion was found during the terminal stage of the disease. Following oral administration, PrP(Sc) was present in all buffy coat samples examined; it was also present in most of the plasma samples obtained from hamsters in the symptomatic stage. PrP(Sc) was excreted in urine for a few days after oral administration; subsequently, urinary PrP(Sc) was not detected until the terminal disease stage. These results represent the first biochemical detection of PrP(Sc) in urine from TSE-infected animals.
    Journal of General Virology 11/2007; 88(Pt 10):2890-8. · 3.13 Impact Factor