Retinal cell types are differentially affected in sheep with scrapie

Date
2008-01-01
Authors
Smith, J. D.
Greenlee, J. J.
Hamir, A. N.
West Greenlee, M. H.
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Smith, Jodi
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Biomedical Sciences
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Neuroscience
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Abstract

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases characterized microscopically by spongiform lesions (vacuolation) in the neuropil, neuronal loss, and gliosis. Accumulation of the abnormal form of the prion protein (PrPSc) has been demonstrated in the retina of natural and non-natural TSE-affected hosts, with or without evidence of microscopically detectable retinal pathology. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of PrPSc accumulation on retinal neurons in a natural host lacking overt microscopical evidence of retinal degeneration by comparing the distribution of retinal cell type-specific markers in control and scrapie-affected sheep. In retinas with PrPSc-immunoreactivity, there was disruption of the normal immunoreactivity patterns of the alpha isoform of protein kinase C (PKCα) and vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1), markers of retinal bipolar cells. Altered immunoreactivity was also observed for microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2), a marker of a subset of retinal ganglion cells, and glutamine synthetase (GS), a marker of Müller glia. These results demonstrate alterations of immunoreactivity patterns for proteins associated with specific cell types in retinas with PrPSc accumulation, despite an absence of microscopical evidence of retinal degeneration.

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This article is published as Smith, J. D., J. J. Greenlee, A. N. Hamir, and MH West Greenlee. "Retinal cell types are differentially affected in sheep with scrapie." Journal of comparative pathology 138, no. 1 (2008): 12-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2007.09.002. Posted with permission.

Keywords
prion, retina, scrapie, transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
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