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1.  Is the presence of abnormal prion protein in the renal glomeruli of feline species presenting with FSE authentic? 
In a recent paper written by Hilbe et al (BMC vet res, 2009), the nature and specificity of the prion protein deposition in the kidney of feline species affected with feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) were clearly considered doubtful. This article was brought to our attention because we published several years ago an immunodetection of abnormal prion protein in the kidney of a cheetah affected with FSE. At this time we were convinced of its specificity but without having all the possibilities to demonstrate it. As previously published by another group, the presence of abnormal prion protein in some renal glomeruli in domestic cats affected with FSE is indeed generally considered as doubtful mainly because of low intensity detected in this organ and because control kidneys from safe animals present also a weak prion immunolabelling. Here we come back on these studies and thought it would be helpful to relay our last data to the readers of BMC Vet res for future reference on this subject.
Here we come back on our material as it is possible to study and demonstrate the specificity of prion immunodetection using the PET-Blot method (Paraffin Embedded Tissue - Blot). It is admitted that this method allows detecting the Proteinase K (PK) resistant form of the abnormal prion protein (PrPres) without any confusion with unspecific immunoreaction. We re-analysed the kidney tissue versus adrenal gland and brain samples from the same cheetah affected with TSE using this PET-Blot method. The PET-Blot analysis revealed specific PrPres detection within the brain, adrenal gland and some glomeruli of the kidney, with a complete identicalness compared to our previous detection using immunohistochemistry. In conclusion, these new data enable us to confirm with assurance the presence of specific abnormal prion protein in the adrenal gland and in the kidney of the cheetah affected with FSE. It also emphasizes the usefulness for the re-examination of any available tissue blocks with the PET-Blot method as a sensitive complementary tool in case of doubtful PrP IHC results.
PMCID: PMC2923130  PMID: 20684771
2.  Comparative Molecular Analysis of the Abnormal Prion Protein in Field Scrapie Cases and Experimental Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Sheep by Use of Western Blotting and Immunohistochemical Methods 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(7):3654-3662.
Since the appearance of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and its linkage with the human variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the possible spread of this agent to sheep flocks has been of concern as a potential new source of contamination. Molecular analysis of the protease cleavage of the abnormal prion protein (PrP), by Western blotting (PrPres) or by immunohistochemical methods (PrPd), has shown some potential to distinguish BSE and scrapie in sheep. Using a newly developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we identified 18 infected sheep in which PrPres showed an increased sensitivity to proteinase K digestion. When analyzed by Western blotting, two of them showed a low molecular mass of unglycosylated PrPres as found in BSE-infected sheep, in contrast to other naturally infected sheep. A decrease of the labeling by P4 monoclonal antibody, which recognizes an epitope close to the protease cleavage site, was also found by Western blotting in the former two samples, but this was less marked than in BSE-infected sheep. These two samples, and all of the other natural scrapie cases studied, were clearly distinguishable from those from sheep inoculated with the BSE agent from either French or British cattle by immunohistochemical analysis of PrPd labeling in the brain and lymphoid tissues. Final characterization of the strain involved in these samples will require analysis of the features of the disease following infection of mice, but our data already emphasize the need to use the different available methods to define the molecular properties of abnormal PrP and its possible similarities with the BSE agent.
PMCID: PMC371064  PMID: 15016886

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