Experimental Transmission of the Chronic Wasting Disease Agent to Swine after Oral or Intracranial Inoculation

Moore, S. Jo
Greenlee, M. Heather
Kondru, Naveen
Smith, Jodi
Manne, Sireesha
Smith, Jodi
Kunkle, Robert
Kanthasamy, Anumantha
Greenlee, Justin
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Smith, Jodi
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Biomedical Sciences
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Veterinary Pathology
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Biomedical SciencesVeterinary Pathology

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a naturally occurring, fatal neurodegenerative disease of cervids. The potential for swine to serve as hosts for the agent of CWD is unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the susceptibility of swine to the CWD agent following experimental oral or intracranial inoculation. Crossbred piglets were assigned to three groups, intracranially inoculated (n = 20), orally inoculated (n = 19), and noninoculated (n = 9). At approximately the age at which commercial pigs reach market weight, half of the pigs in each group were culled (“market weight” groups). The remaining pigs (“aged” groups) were allowed to incubate for up to 73 months postinoculation (mpi). Tissues collected at necropsy were examined for disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) by Western blotting (WB), antigen capture enzyme immunoassay (EIA), immunohistochemistry (IHC), and in vitro real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC). Brain samples from selected pigs were also bioassayed in mice expressing porcine prion protein. Four intracranially inoculated aged pigs and one orally inoculated aged pig were positive by EIA, IHC, and/or WB. By RT-QuIC, PrPSc was detected in lymphoid and/or brain tissue from one or more pigs in each inoculated group. The bioassay was positive in four out of five pigs assayed. This study demonstrates that pigs can support low-level amplification of CWD prions, although the species barrier to CWD infection is relatively high. However, detection of infectivity in orally inoculated pigs with a mouse bioassay raises the possibility that naturally exposed pigs could act as a reservoir of CWD infectivity.


This article is published as Moore, S. Jo, M. Heather West Greenlee, Naveen Kondru, Sireesha Manne, Jodi D. Smith, Robert A. Kunkle, Anumantha Kanthasamy, and Justin J. Greenlee. "Experimental transmission of the chronic wasting disease agent to swine after oral or intracranial inoculation." Journal of Virology 91, no. 19 (2017): e00926-17. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00926-17. Posted with permission.