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From: TSS ()
Subject: Japanese researchers trigger onset of mad cow disease in cows+
Date: January 18, 2006 at 2:53 pm PST

[January 17, 2006]

LEAD: Japanese researchers trigger onset of mad cow disease in cows+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)SAPPORO, Jan. 18_(Kyodo) _ (EDS: ADDING DETAILS)

Japanese researchers have succeeded for the first time in Japan in infecting cows with mad cow disease in an experiment, an animal laboratory in Hokkaido said Wednesday.

The Hokkaido Animal Research Center said the researchers triggered the onset of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in three cows in an experiment in which the cows were injected with abnormal prions extracted from BSE-infected cows.

The researchers said they believe the breakthrough will help shed light on the mechanism of abnormal prions -- which cause BSE -- building up inside the animal. They said they also think the achievement will help them develop a method of diagnosing whether a cow is infected with the disease.

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

According to the center, the experiment has been conducted since February 2004 on 14 female Holstein calves. A tenth of a gram of abnormal prions was injected into each of their brains.

Late last year, three of them began showing initial symptoms of the brain-wasting disease such as wobbling and overreacting to sound. Autopsies conducted on them at the National Institute of Animal Health confirmed the three were infected, the center said.


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