The occurrence of the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), raises the important question of the sources of human contamination. The possibility that sheep may have been fed with BSE-contaminated foodstuff raises the serious concern that BSE may now be present in sheep without being distinguishable from scrapie. Sensitive models are urgently needed given the dramatic consequences of such a possible contamination on animal and human health. We inoculated transgenic mice expressing the ovine PrP gene with a brain homogenate from sheep experimentally infected with BSE. We found numerous typical florid plaques in their brains. Such florid plaques are a feature of vCJD in humans and experimental BSE infection in macaques. Our observation represents the first description, after a primary infection, of this hallmark in a transgenic mouse model. Moreover, these mice appear to be a promising tool in the search for BSE in sheep.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology