New Zealand sheep with scrapie-susceptible PrP genotypes succumb to experimental challenge with a sheep-passaged scrapie isolate (SSBP/1)
Houston, E.F.; Halliday, S.I.; Jeffrey, M.; Goldmann, W.; Hunter, N.
Journal of General Virology 83(Pt 5): 1247-1250
ISSN/ISBN: 0022-1317 PMID: 11961280 Accession: 011051912
Scrapie does not occur in New Zealand (NZ), although PrP gene alleles associated with susceptibility to the disease are found at relatively high frequencies in NZ sheep. The hypothesis that scrapie is a genetic disease of sheep is thus unlikely to be true. To confirm that NZ sheep are actually susceptible to scrapie infection, NZ sheep of various PrP genotypes were challenged by subcutaneous inoculation with a sheep-passaged scrapie isolate (SSBP/1). Showing similar PrP genetics to that seen in UK sheep, all NZ sheep carrying the VRQ PrP allele developed clinical signs typical of scrapie, with characteristic neurodegenerative changes and PrP(Sc) evident on histopathological examination of their brains and lymphoid tissues. The incubation periods recorded in NZ sheep were generally shorter than those found in UK sheep. The results confirm that New Zealand sheep are as susceptible as their UK counterparts to experimental scrapie infection by subcutaneous inoculation.