Feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy that affects domestic cats () and captive wild members of the family Felidae. In this report we describe a case of FSE in a captive cheetah from the zoological garden of Nuremberg. The biochemical examination revealed a BSE-like pattern. Disease-associated scrapie prion protein (PrP) was widely distributed in the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as in the lymphoreticular system and in other tissues of the affected animal, as demonstrated by immunohistochemistry and/or immunoblotting. Moreover, we report for the first time the use of the protein misfolding cyclic amplification technique for highly sensitive detection of PrP in the family Felidae. The widespread PrP deposition suggests a simultaneous lymphatic and neural spread of the FSE agent. The detection of PrP in the spleen indicates a potential for prion infectivity of cheetah blood.


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vol. , part 11, pp. 2874 –2883

Western blot analysis of PrP .

Glycoprofile of amplified feline spongiform encephalopathy samples after first and second rounds of protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA).

Average incubation times, in days, of transgenic Tgshp XI mice that had accumulated PrP in their brains (detected by Western blot) after i.c. inoculation of feline spongiform encephalopathy material.

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