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Zoonoses Public Health. 2012 Jun;59(4):251-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01455.x. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Stability of bovine spongiform encephalopathy prions: absence of prion protein degradation by bovine gut microbiota.

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  • 1Institute for Microbiology and Biotechnology, Max-Rubner-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food, Kulmbach, Germany. christina.boehnlein@mri.bund.de


Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is transmitted by the oral route. However, the impacts of anaerobic fermentation processes in cattle on the stability of BSE-associated prion protein (PrP(Sc)) are still unresolved. In this study, experiments were designed to assess the ability of complex ruminal and colonic contents of bovines to degrade BSE-derived PrP(Sc). No significant decrease in PrP(Sc) levels in BSE brain homogenates was detected by Western blotting after up to 66 h of co-incubation with intestinal fluids. These results indicate that BSE-associated PrP(Sc) survive gastrointestinal digestion processes in cattle and might be excreted via faeces.

© 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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