White-tailed deer are susceptible to the agent of sheep scrapie by intracerebral inoculation
Greenlee, J.J.; Smith, J.D.; Kunkle, R.A.
Veterinary Research 42: 107
ISSN/ISBN: 1297-9716 PMID: 21988781 DOI: 10.1186/1297-9716-42-107
Interspecies transmission studies afford the opportunity to better understand the potential host range and origins of prion diseases. The purpose of this experiment was to determine susceptibility of white-tailed deer to the agent of scrapie after intracerebral inoculation and to compare clinical signs and lesions to those reported for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Deer (n = 5) were inoculated with 1 mL of a 10% (wt/vol) brain homogenate derived from a sheep clinically affected with scrapie. A non-inoculated deer was maintained as a negative control. Deer were observed daily for clinical signs of disease and euthanized and necropsied when unequivocal signs of scrapie were noted. One animal died 7 months post inoculation (pi) due to intercurrent disease. Examinations of brain tissue for the presence of the disease-associated abnormal prion protein (PrP(Sc)) by western blot (WB) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were negative whereas IHC of lymphoid tissues was positive. Deer necropsied at 15-22 months pi were positive for scrapie by IHC and WB. Deer necropsied after 20 months pi had clinical signs of depression and progressive weight loss. Tissues with PrP(Sc) immunoreactivity included brain (at levels of cerebrum, hippocampus, colliculus, cerebellum, and brainstem), trigeminal ganglion, neurohypophysis, retina, spinal cord, and various lymphoid tissues including tonsil, retropharyngeal and mesenteric lymph nodes, Peyer's patches, and spleen. This work demonstrates for the first time that white-tailed deer are susceptible to sheep scrapie by intracerebral inoculation. To further test the susceptibility of white-tailed deer to scrapie these experiments will be repeated with a more natural route of inoculation.