Evolution of a Strain of CJD That Induces BSE-Like Plaques

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Science  04 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5322, pp. 94-98
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5322.94

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Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has become a public health issue because a recently evolved BSE agent has infected people, yielding an unusual form of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD). A new CJD agent that provokes similar amyloid plaques and cerebellar pathology was serially propagated. First-passage rats showed obvious clinical signs and activated microglia but had negligible PrP-res (the more protease-resistant form of host PrP) or cerebellar lesions. Microglia and astrocytes may participate in strain selection because the agent evolved, stabilized, and reproducibly provoked BSE-like disease in subsequent passages. Early vacuolar change involving activated microglia and astrocytes preceded significant PrP-res accumulation by more than 50 days. These studies reveal several inflammatory host reactions to an exogenous agent.

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