37 research outputs found

    Transmissible α-synuclein seeding activity in brain and stomach of patients with Parkinson’s disease

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    Cerebral deposition of abnormally aggregated α-synuclein (αSyn) is a neuropathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). PD-associated αSyn (αSy

    Stability of BSE infectivity towards heat treatment even after proteolytic removal of prion protein

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    The unconventional infectious agents of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are prions. Their infectivity co-appears with PrPSc, aberrant depositions of the host’s cellular prion protein (PrPC). Successive heat treatment in the presence of detergent and proteolysis by a keratinase from Bacillus licheniformis PWD-1 was shown before to destroy PrPSc from bovine TSE (BSE) and sheep scrapie diseased brain, however data regarding expected reduction of infectivity were still lacking. Therefore, transgenic Tgbov XV mice which are highly BSE susceptible were used to quantify infectivity before and after the bovine brain treatment procedure. Also four immunochemical analyses were applied to compare the levels of PrPSc. After heating at 115 °C with or without subsequent proteolysis, the original BSE infectivity of 106.2–6.4 ID50 g−1 was reduced to a remaining infectivity of 104.6–5.7 ID50 g−1 while strain characteristics were unaltered, even after precipitation with methanol. Surprisingly, PrPSc depletion was 5–800 times higher than the loss of infectivity. Similar treatment was applied on other prion strains, which were CWD1 in bank voles, 263 K scrapie in hamsters and sheep PG127 scrapie in tg338 ovinized mice. In these strains however, infectivity was already destroyed by heat only. These findings show the unusual heat resistance of BSE and support a role for an additional factor in prion formation as suggested elsewhere when producing prions from PrPC. Leftover material in the remaining PrPSc depleted BSE preparation offers a unique substrate for searching additional elements for prion infectivity and improving our concept about the nature of prions.</p

    Is there a risk of prion-like disease transmission by Alzheimer- or Parkinson-associated protein particles?

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    The misfolding and aggregation of endogenous proteins in the central nervous system is a neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), as well as prion diseases. A molecular mechanism referred to as “nucleation-dependent aggregation” is thought to underlie this neuropathological phenomenon. According to this concept, disease-associated protein particles act as nuclei, or seeds, that recruit cellular proteins and incorporate them, in a misfolded form, into their growing aggregate structure. Experimental studies have shown that the aggregation of the AD-associated proteins amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau, and of the PD-associated protein α-synuclein, can be stimulated in laboratory animal models by intracerebral (i.c.) injection of inocula containing aggregated species of the respective proteins. This has raised the question of whether AD or PD can be transmitted, like certain human prion diseases, between individuals by self-propagating protein particles potentially present on medical instruments or in blood or blood products. While the i.c. injection of inocula containing AD- or PD-associated protein aggregates was found to cause neuronal damage and clinical abnormalities (e.g., motor impairments) in some animal models, none of the studies published so far provided evidence for a transmission of severe or even fatal disease. In addition, available epidemiological data do not indicate a transmissibility of AD or PD between humans. The findings published so far on the effects of experimentally transmitted AD- or PD-associated protein seeds do not suggest specific precautionary measures in the context of hemotherapy, but call for vigilance in transfusion medicine and other medical areas

    Towards further reduction and replacement of animal bioassays in prion research by cell and protein misfolding cyclic amplification assays

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    Laboratory animals have long since been used extensively in bioassays for prions in order to quantify, usually in terms of median infective doses [ID50], how infectious these pathogens are in vivo. The identification of aberrant prion protein as the main component and self-replicating principle of prions has given rise to alternative approaches for prion titration. Such approaches often use protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) for the cell-free biochemical measurement of prion-associated seeding activity, or cell assays for the titration of in vitro infectivity. However, median seeding and cell culture infective doses (SD50 and CCID50, respectively) of prions are neither formally congruent nor definitely representative for ID50 titres in animals and can be therefore only tentatively translated into the latter. This may potentially impede the acceptance and use of alternative methods to animal bioassays in prion research. Thus, we suggest performing PMCA and cell assays jointly, and to check whether these profoundly different test principles deliver consistent results in order to strengthen the reliability and credibility of prion ID50 assessments by in vitro methods. With regard to this rationale, we describe three pairs of PMCA and glial cell assays for different hamster-adapted prion agents (the frequently used 263K scrapie strain, and 22A-H scrapie and BSE-H). In addition, we report on the adaptation of quantitative PMCA to human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) prions on steel wires for prion disinfection studies. Our rationale and methodology can be systematically extended to other types of prions and used to further reduce or replace prion bioassays in rodents

    Foodborne Transmission of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy to Nonhuman Primates

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    Risk for human exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)–inducing agent was estimated in a nonhuman primate model. To determine attack rates, incubation times, and molecular signatures, we orally exposed 18 macaques to 1 high dose of brain material from cattle with BSE. Several macaques were euthanized at regular intervals starting at 1 year postinoculation, and others were observed until clinical signs developed. Among those who received ≥5 g BSE-inducing agent, attack rates were 100% and prions could be detected in peripheral tissues from 1 year postinoculation onward. The overall median incubation time was 4.6 years (3.7–5.3). However, for 3 macaques orally exposed on multiple occasions, incubation periods were at least 7–10 years. Before clinical signs were noted, we detected a non-type 2B signature, indicating the existence of atypical prion protein during the incubation period. This finding could affect diagnosis of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and might be relevant for retrospective studies of positive tonsillectomy or appendectomy specimens because time of infection is unknown

    Quantitative Detection and Biological Propagation of Scrapie Seeding Activity In Vitro Facilitate Use of Prions as Model Pathogens for Disinfection

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    Prions are pathogens with an unusually high tolerance to inactivation and constitute a complex challenge to the re-processing of surgical instruments. On the other hand, however, they provide an informative paradigm which has been exploited successfully for the development of novel broad-range disinfectants simultaneously active also against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Here we report on the development of a methodological platform that further facilitates the use of scrapie prions as model pathogens for disinfection. We used specifically adapted serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) for the quantitative detection, on steel wires providing model carriers for decontamination, of 263K scrapie seeding activity converting normal protease-sensitive into abnormal protease-resistant prion protein. Reference steel wires carrying defined amounts of scrapie infectivity were used for assay calibration, while scrapie-contaminated test steel wires were subjected to fifteen different procedures for disinfection that yielded scrapie titre reductions of ≤101- to ≥105.5-fold. As confirmed by titration in hamsters the residual scrapie infectivity on test wires could be reliably deduced for all examined disinfection procedures, from our quantitative seeding activity assay. Furthermore, we found that scrapie seeding activity present in 263K hamster brain homogenate or multiplied by PMCA of scrapie-contaminated steel wires both triggered accumulation of protease-resistant prion protein and was further propagated in a novel cell assay for 263K scrapie prions, i.e., cerebral glial cell cultures from hamsters. The findings from our PMCA- and glial cell culture assays revealed scrapie seeding activity as a biochemically and biologically replicative principle in vitro, with the former being quantitatively linked to prion infectivity detected on steel wires in vivo. When combined, our in vitro assays provide an alternative to titrations of biological scrapie infectivity in animals that substantially facilitates the use of prions as potentially highly indicative test agents in the search for novel broad-range disinfectants

    Presence and Seeding Activity of Pathological Prion Protein (PrPTSE) in Skeletal Muscles of White-Tailed Deer Infected with Chronic Wasting Disease

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    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a contagious, rapidly spreading transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), or prion disease, occurring in cervids such as white tailed-deer (WTD), mule deer or elk in North America. Despite efficient horizontal transmission of CWD among cervids natural transmission of the disease to other species has not yet been observed. Here, we report for the first time a direct biochemical demonstration of pathological prion protein PrPTSE and of PrPTSE-associated seeding activity, the static and dynamic biochemical markers for biological prion infectivity, respectively, in skeletal muscles of CWD-infected cervids, i. e. WTD for which no clinical signs of CWD had been recognized. The presence of PrPTSE was detected by Western- and postfixed frozen tissue blotting, while the seeding activity of PrPTSE was revealed by protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA). Semi-quantitative Western blotting indicated that the concentration of PrPTSE in skeletal muscles of CWD-infected WTD was approximately 2000-10000 -fold lower than in brain tissue. Tissue-blot-analyses revealed that PrPTSE was located in muscle-associated nerve fascicles but not, in detectable amounts, in myocytes. The presence and seeding activity of PrPTSE in skeletal muscle from CWD-infected cervids suggests prevention of such tissue in the human diet as a precautionary measure for food safety, pending on further clarification of whether CWD may be transmissible to humans

    Fast broad-range disinfection of bacteria, fungi, viruses and prions

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    Effective disinfectants are of key importance for the safe handling and reprocessing of surgical instruments. We tested whether new formulations containing SDS, NaOH and 1-propanol (n-propanol) are simultaneously active against a broad range of pathogens including bacteria, fungi, non-enveloped viruses and prions. Inactivation and disinfection were examined in suspension and on carriers, respectively, using coagulated blood or brain homogenate as organic soil. Coomassie blue staining was used to assess whether formulations did undesirably fix proteins to rough surfaces. A mixture of 0.2% SDS and 0.3% NaOH in 20% n-propanol achieved potent decontamination of steel carriers contaminated with PrPTSE, the biochemical marker for prion infectivity, from 263K scrapie hamsters, or patients with sporadic or variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. 263K scrapie infectivity on carriers was decreased by ≥5.5 log10 units [logs]. Furthermore, the formulation effectively inactivated poliovirus, hepatitis A virus and caliciviruses (including murine norovirus) in suspension tests. It also yielded significant titre reductions of bacteria (E. faecium, M. avium; >6 logs), fungi (spores of Aspergillus niger; >5 logs) or poliovirus (≥4 logs) embedded in coagulated blood on carriers. The formulation was not found to fix proteins more than was observed with water as cleaning reagent. SDS, NaOH and n-propanol can synergistically achieve fast broad-range disinfection

    Faecal shedding, alimentary clearance and intestinal spread of prions in hamsters fed with scrapie

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    Shedding of prions via faeces may be involved in the transmission of contagious prion diseases. Here, we fed hamsters 10 mg of 263K scrapie brain homogenate and examined the faecal excretion of disease-associated prion protein (PrPTSE) during the course of infection. The intestinal fate of ingested PrPTSE was further investigated by monitoring the deposition of the protein in components of the gut wall using immunohistochemistry and paraffin-embedded tissue (PET) blotting. Western blotting of faecal extracts showed shedding of PrPTSE in the excrement at 24–72 h post infection (hpi), but not at 0–24 hpi or at later preclinical or clinical time points. About 5% of the ingested PrPTSE were excreted via the faeces. However, the bulk of PrPTSE was cleared from the alimentary canal, most probably by degradation, while an indiscernible proportion of the inoculum triggered intestinal infection. Components of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) and the enteric nervous system (ENS) showed progressing accumulation of PrPTSE from 30 days post infection (dpi) and 60 dpi, respectively. At the clinical stage of disease, substantial deposits of PrPTSE were found in the GALT in close vicinity to the intestinal lumen. Despite an apparent possibility of shedding from Peyer’s patches that may involve the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE), only small amounts of PrPTSE were detected in faeces from clinically infected animals by serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA). Although excrement may thus provide a vehicle for the release of endogenously formed PrPTSE, intestinal clearance mechanisms seem to partially counteract such a mode of prion dissemination
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