Prion infectivity found in white and brown fat tissues of mice

December 5, 2008

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Scripps Research Institute have found novel prion infectivity in white and brown fat tissues of mice. The study appears December 5 in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens.

Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are infectious progressive fatal neurodegenerative diseases which affect humans as well as wild and domestic animals. Distribution of prion infectivity in organs and tissues is important in understanding prion disease pathogenesis and designing strategies to prevent prion infection in animals and humans.

Previous studies in animals including sheep, goats, cattle, deer, mink, hamsters and mice, have found prion infectivity mostly in nervous system tissues such as the brain and spinal cord. The tissues studied here in a mouse model demonstrate a proof of principle that white and brown fat tissues are sites of prion agent deposition and therefore may play a previously unrecognized role in prion infectivity and transmission of prion disease.

The authors state clearly that it will be important to extend their studies to prion-infected large animals, such as cattle, sheep, deer, and elk where they may be potential sources of contamination of human and domestic animal food chains. Results of the current and future studies may merit additional consideration of steps to eliminate from the food chain any fat from ruminants suspected of exposure to or infection with prions.

Citation: Race B, Meade-White K, Oldstone MBA, Race R, Chesebro B (2008) Detection of Prion Infectivity in Fat Tissues of Scrapie-Infected Mice. PLoS Pathog 4(12): e1000232. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000232
dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000232

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: New type of prion may cause, transmit neurodegeneration

Related Stories

New type of prion may cause, transmit neurodegeneration

August 31, 2015

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a neurodegenerative disorder with similarities to Parkinson's disease, is caused by a newly discovered type of prion, akin to the misfolded proteins involved in incurable progressive brain diseases ...

New models advance the study of deadly human prion diseases

August 19, 2013

By directly manipulating a portion of the prion protein-coding gene, Whitehead Institute researchers have created mouse models of two neurodegenerative diseases that are fatal in humans. The highly accurate reproduction of ...

Recommended for you

Common pesticide damages honey bee's ability to fly

April 26, 2017

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have demonstrated for the first time that a widely used pesticide can significantly impair the ability of otherwise healthy honey bees to fly, raising concerns about how ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.