1887

Abstract

To elucidate the still-unknown pathogenesis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), an oral BSE challenge and sequential kill study was carried out on 56 calves. Relevant tissues belonging to the peripheral and central nervous system, as well as to the lymphoreticular tract, from necropsied animals were analysed by highly sensitive immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting techniques to reveal the presence of BSE-associated pathological prion protein (PrP) depositions. Our results demonstrate two routes involving the autonomic nervous system through which BSE prions spread by anterograde pathways from the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) to the central nervous system (CNS): (i) via the coeliac and mesenteric ganglion complex, splanchnic nerves and the lumbal/caudal thoracic spinal cord (representing the sympathetic GIT innervation); and (ii) via the (parasympathetic GIT innervation). The dorsal root ganglia seem to be subsequently affected, so it is likely that BSE prion invasion of the non-autonomic peripheral nervous system (e.g. sciatic nerve) is a secondary retrograde event following prion replication in the CNS. Moreover, BSE-associated PrP was already detected in the brainstem of an animal 24 months post-infection, which is 8 months earlier than reported previously. These findings are important for the understanding of BSE pathogenesis and for the development of new diagnostic strategies for this infectious disease.

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2007-03-01
2019-08-22
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