Incubation period and survival time were determined in C57BL mice which had been injected stereotaxically with either the 139A, ME7 or 22L strain of scrapie in one of five different brain regions (cerebral cortex, caudate nucleus, thalamus, substantia nigra, cerebellum). The injection of 139A in the caudate nucleus, thalamus, substantia nigra or cerebellum resulted in significantly shorter incubation periods than following cerebral cortex injection. For ME7, mice injected in the thalamus and cerebellum had incubation periods approximately 2 weeks shorter than the cerebral cortex group. For 22L, the incubation periods after substantia nigra or cerebellum injection were significantly shorter than after cortex injection. The cerebellum injection group had a significantly shorter incubation period than the substantia nigra injection group. The survival times for mice injected with a particular scrapie strain were directly related to the incubation periods. The groups with the shortest incubation also had the shortest survival time (e.g. 22L in the cerebellum). On histological examination, 139A and ME7 produced brain lesions in all brain areas regardless of injection site. For the 22L strain, after cerebellum injection vacuolation was limited to the cerebellum, while injection into the cerebral cortex and other forebrain regions resulted in vacuolation in all brain regions examined. Despite the difference in the distribution of vacuolation seen in cerebellum- compared to cortex-injected (22L) mice, infectivity titres were similar in the cortex, cerebellum, cerebellar cortex and medulla plus pons.


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