My watch list
my.bionity.com  
Login  

Prion disease detected soon after infection and in surprising place in mouse brains

23-Sep-2015

Prion diseases - incurable, ultimately fatal, transmissible neurodegenerative disorders of mammals - are believed to develop undetected in the brain over several years from infectious prion protein. In a new study, National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists report they can detect infectious prion protein in mouse brains within a week of inoculation. Equally surprising, the protein was generated outside blood vessels in a place in the brain where scientists believe drug treatment could be targeted to prevent disease.

Scientists believe prion diseases potentially could be treated if therapy starts early in the disease cycle. However, identifying who needs treatment and pinpointing the optimal timeframe for treatment are open questions for researchers.

Human prion diseases include variant, familial and sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The most common form, sporadic CJD, affects an estimated one in one million people annually worldwide. Other prion diseases include scrapie in sheep, chronic wasting disease in deer, elk and moose, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle.

In their study, the NIAID scientists injected infectious scrapie prion protein into the brains of mice. After 30 minutes, they began observing whether the injected material generated new infectious protein at the injection site. By examining mouse brain tissue, the researchers measured and detected new infectious prion protein three days after infection on the outside walls of capillaries and other blood vessels at the injection site. Using Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC), a feasible testing method for people, the scientists detected newly generated prion protein after seven days. In prior studies, it took about six weeks to detect infectious prion protein. The new findings enhance scientific understanding of where infectious prion diseases might take hold in the brain and provide possible targets for treatment.

Original publication:

Bruce Chesebro, James Striebel, Alejandra Rangel, Katie Phillips, Andrew Hughson, Byron Caughey, Brent Race; "Early Generation of New PrPSc on Blood Vessels after Brain Microinjection of Scrapie in Mice"; mBio; 2015

More about National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
More about National Institutes of Health
  • News

    Scientists work toward a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test for Lyme disease

    A study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology describes a new rapid assay for Lyme disease that could lead to a practical test for use by healthcare providers. The researchers found the assay, which uses several biomarkers to detect Lyme disease infection, was more sensitive tha ... more

    Mega docking library poised to speed drug discovery

    Researchers have launched an ultra-large virtual docking library expected to grow to more than 1 billion molecules by next year. It will expand by 1000-fold the number of such "make-on-demand" compounds readily available to scientists for chemical biology and drug discovery. The larger the ... more

    Combination Pack Battles Cancer

    For efficient cancer therapy with few side effects, the active drug should selectively attain high concentration in the tumor. Scientists have now introduced a new approach, in which two synergistic drug components are combined into a dimer. This dimer can be incorporated into polymeric nan ... more

Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE