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From: TSS ()
Subject: Report of the first oral inoculation of BSE prion UPDATE
Date: January 4, 2006 at 7:00 am PST

[January 04, 2006]

Hokkaido lab may have succeeded in 1st artificial BSE infection+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)SAPPORO, Jan. 4_(Kyodo) _ Japan may have succeeded for the first time in artificially triggering the onset of mad cow disease as several cows inoculated with abnormal prions have shown symptoms of the disease at the Hokkaido Animal Research Center, its official said Wednesday.

The center plans to dissect three of the cows in February to see if they were indeed infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy. If confirmed, it will be the first successful case of human-induced BSE in Japan, which researchers hope will contribute to further studies of the disease-causing abnormal proteins and cure methods.

According to the prefectural research center, the experiment began in February 2004 when 14 female Holstein calves, kept in an isolated facility, were inoculated in the brain with 0.1 gram of abnormal prions extracted from BSE infected cows.

Researchers kept a close watch on the calves, including their behavior and blood samples. Around the end of last year, several calves began to show early symptoms of the brain-wasting disease such as wobbling and overreacting to sounds, the official said.

"Until now, we have only had (samples from) dead infected cows," the official said. "If it becomes possible to analyze blood and other samples from infected cows that are alive, then we can understand what kinds of changes occur before the infection develops and enable earlier detection of the disease."

Researchers in Britain have already succeeded in similar experiments. Elsewhere in Japan, the National Institute of Animal Health in Ibaraki Prefecture is conducting a similar test by injecting abnormal prions into the stomachs of cows.

Report of the first oral inoculation of BSE prion
into cattle in Japan

Ryoko Irie, Hiroyuki Okada, Hiroko Hayashi, Yoshifumi Iwamaru, Taka-
shi Yokoyama and Morikazu Shinagawa

Prion Disease Research Center, National Institute of Animal Health, 3-1-5
Kannondai, Tsukuba 305-0856 Japan


A Prion Disease Research Center at the National Institute of Animal
Health (NIAH) was established to conduct comprehensive research on
BSE in response to the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE) in Japan. A new research facility for the center has been con-
structed. It was designed as a biosafety level (BSL) 3 facility with the
capacity to inoculate and hold experimental animals. Experiments have
begun to infect cattle with BSE orally. This route of inoculation simu-
lates the feeding of contaminated meat and bone meal that caused pan-
demic occurrence of BSE in the UK. An abnormal isoform of the prion
protein (PrPSc) accumulates in BSE affected cattle. The purpose of this
study is to examine the spread of the abnormal prion from digestive tract to
the central nervous system and to describe the pathological changes in cat-
tle during the course of infection. Atypical BSE and young BSE cases
have been found in the abattoir surveillance program. As a result the cat-
tle used in this experiment were imported from Australia, a country free of
BSE, to exclude the possibility of prior BSE infection before inoculation.
Each calf (Holstein heifer, 10-months old) was inoculated orally with 5g of
brain stem from BSE infected cattle (courtesy provided by Veterinary
Laboratory Agency, Weybridge, UK) into the rumen with a catheter. The
cattle will be euthanized at intervals during the clinical stages of disease.
Infectivity from different tissues at different stages of clinical disease as
well as the deposition of PrPSc will be analyzed. Other factors that may
be related to the pathogenesis of the BSE prion will be investigated.


Food and Drug Safety
T. Kitamoto (Ed.)

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