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.
PLEASE ADD THIS LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000232 (link will go live on Friday, December 5)
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
Public Affairs Officer
Rocky Mountain Laboratories
NIAID Office of Communications and Government Relations
This press release refers to an upcoming article in PLoS Pathogens. The release is provided by journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these releases or articles are the personal views of the journal staff and/or article contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLoS. PLoS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the releases and articles and your use of such information.
About PLoS Pathogens
PLoS Pathogens (www.plospathogens.org) publishes outstanding original articles that significantly advance the understanding of pathogens and how they interact with their host organisms. All works published in PLoS Pathogens are open access. Everything is immediately available subject only to the condition that the original authorship and source are properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.
About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org.
PLEASE MENTION THE OPEN-ACCESS JOURNAL PLoS PATHOGENS (www.plospathogens.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THIS ARTICLE AND PROVIDE A LINK TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE TEXT. THANK YOU.
PLoS Pathogens is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published weekly by the Public Library of Science (PLoS).
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.