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      Infectivity of scrapie prion protein (PrPSc) following in vitro digestion with bovine gastrointestinal microbiota.

      Zoonoses and Public Health
      Animals, Bacteria, metabolism, Cattle, Colon, microbiology, Cricetinae, Digestion, Encephalopathy, Bovine Spongiform, transmission, PrPSc Proteins, pathogenicity, Rumen

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          Abstract

          The influence of a complex microflora residing in the gastrointestinal tract of cattle on the prion protein plays a crucial role with respect to early pathogenesis and the potential infectivity of faeces resulting in contamination of the environment. It is unknown whether infectious prion proteins, considered to be very stable, are inactivated by microbial processes in the gastrointestinal tract of animals during digestion. In our previous study it was shown that the scrapie-associated prion protein was degraded by ruminal and colonic microbiota of cattle, as indicated by a loss of anti-prion antibody 3F4 immunoreactivity in Western blot. Subsequently, in this study hamster bioassays with the pre-treated samples were performed. Although the PrP(Sc) signal was reduced up to immunochemically undetectable levels within 40 h of pre-treatment, significant residual prion infectivity was retained after degradation of infected hamster brain through the gastrointestinal microflora of cattle. The data presented here show that the loss of anti-prion antibody 3F4 immunoreactivity is obviously not correlated with a biological inactivation of PrP(Sc). These results highlight the deficiency of using Western blot in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies inactivation assessment studies and, additionally, point to the possibility of environmental contamination with faeces containing PrP(Sc) following an oral ingestion of prions.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          17542960
          10.1111/j.1863-2378.2007.01040.x

          Chemistry
          Animals,Bacteria,metabolism,Cattle,Colon,microbiology,Cricetinae,Digestion,Encephalopathy, Bovine Spongiform,transmission,PrPSc Proteins,pathogenicity,Rumen

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