To begin to understand the molecular basis of cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease recently described in young children, the expression of prion protein and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) mRNAs was investigated during the development of the brain of scrapie-infected newborn mice. Changes in the time course of expression were identified by Northern blot quantification between days 1 and 172. Although scrapie-infected and control animals showed no detectable changes in brain development (first 56 days of life), GFAP mRNAs were found to increase significantly as early as day 84. A 10-fold increase in the level of GFAP mRNA was observed in brain between day 112 and death (day 172).


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