About Careers MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Abnormal Prions can Erupt Unexpectedly from Normal Brain Tissue

by Savitha C Muppala on July 28, 2010 at 10:49 PM
Font : A-A+

 Abnormal Prions can Erupt Unexpectedly from Normal Brain Tissue

Researchers have outlined that abnormal prions can suddenly erupt from normal brain tissue.

The catalyst in the study, conducted by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, Florida, and the University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology, UK, was the metallic surface of simple steel wires. Previous research showed that prions bind readily to these types of surfaces and can initiate infection with remarkable efficiency. Surprisingly, according to the new research, wires coated with uninfected brain homogenate could also initiate prion disease in cell culture, which was transmissible to mice.

Advertisement

"Prion diseases such as sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans or atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a form of mad cow disease, occur rarely and at random. It has been proposed that these events reflect rare, spontaneous formation of prions in brain. Our study offers experimental proof that prions can in fact originate spontaneously, and shows that this event is promoted by contact with steel surfaces," said Charles Weissmann, chair of Scripps Florida's Department of Infectology, who led the study with John Collinge, head of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease at UCL Institute of Neurology.

Infectious prions, which are composed solely of protein, are classified by distinct strains, originally characterized by their incubation time and the disease they cause. These toxic prions have the ability to reproduce, despite the fact that they contain no nucleic acid genome.
Advertisement

Mammalian cells normally produce harmless cellular prion protein (PrPC). Following prion infection, the abnormal or misfolded prion protein (PrPSc) converts PrPC into a likeness of itself, by causing it to change its conformation or shape. The end-stage consists of large aggregates of these misfolded proteins, which cause massive tissue and cell damage.

In the new study, the scientists used the Scrapie Cell Assay, a test originally created by Weissmann that is highly sensitive to minute quantities of prions.

Using the Scrapie Cell Assay to measure infectivity of prion-coated wires, the team observed several unexpected instances of infectious prions in control groups where metal wires had been exposed only to uninfected normal mouse brain tissue.

In the current study, this phenomenon was investigated in rigorous and exhaustive control experiments specifically designed to exclude prion contamination. Weissmann and his colleagues in London found that when normal prion protein is coated onto steel wires and brought into contact with cultured cells, a small but significant proportion of the coated wires cause prion infection of the cells - and when transferred to mice, they continue to spawn the disease.

Weissmann noted that an alternative interpretation of the results is that infectious prions are naturally present in the brain at levels not detectable by conventional methods, and are normally destroyed at the same rate they are created. If that is the case, he noted, metal surfaces could be acting to concentrate the infectious prions to the extent that they became quantifiable by the team's testing methods.

The findings of the study appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Source: ANI
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
World AIDS Day 2022 - Equalize!
Test Your Knowledge on Sugar Intake and Oral Health
Test  Your Knowledge on Heart
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
Date
Category
Advertisement
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Brain Brain Facts Epigenetics Ataxia Language Areas in The Brain Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 

Most Popular on Medindia

Color Blindness Calculator Iron Intake Calculator The Essence of Yoga Find a Doctor Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants Sinopril (2mg) (Lacidipine) Daily Calorie Requirements A-Z Drug Brands in India Indian Medical Journals Vent Forte (Theophylline)
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
×

Abnormal Prions can Erupt Unexpectedly from Normal Brain Tissue Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests