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Susceptibility of UK red deer (Cervus alaphus elaphus) to oral BSE transmission
Project Code: M03024
The project confirmed that U.K red deer are susceptible to both oral and intra-cerebral inoculation with the cattle BSE agent. Six clinically positive (from 26-42 months post inoculation) i.c inoculated and one (56 months post inoculation) orally dosed deer that tested positive for TSE by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting using several primary antibodies demonstrated widespread accumulation of disease specific prion protein in the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and enteric nervous system but none in lymphoreticular system. All showed several brain sites positive for disease specific prion protein and presented immunohistochemistry and Western blotting phenotypes with similarities to BSE in sheep, goats and cattle but unlike those seen in chronic wasting disease (CWD) in elk or scrapie in sheep. The vacuolar pathology and distribution of disease specific prion protein in red deer resembled that of CWD in most major respects however we have shown that BSE can be clearly differentiated from CWD by existing immunohistochemical and biochemical methods that are in routine use.
The knowledge gained as a result of this work will permit rapid and accurate diagnosis should a TSE ever be detected in European red deer and will also enable effective disease control methods to be quickly put in place.
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