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J Cell Biochem. 2004 Nov 1;93(4):644-52.

New molecular markers of early and progressive CJD brain infection.

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Yale Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.


Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), including human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), are caused by a related group of infectious agents that can be transmitted to many mammalian species. Because the infectious component of TSE agents has not been identified, we examined myeloid cell linked inflammatory pathways to find if they were activated early in CJD infection. We here identify a specific set of transcripts in CJD infected mouse brains that define early and later stages of progressive disease. Serum amyloid A3 and L-selectin mRNAs were elevated as early as 20 days after intracerebral inoculation. Transcripts of myeloid cell recruitment factors such as MIP-1alpha, MIP-1beta, and MCP1, as well as IL1alpha and TNFalpha were upregulated > 10 fold between 30 and 40 days, well before prion protein (PrP) abnormalities that begin only after 80 days. At later stages of symptomatic neurodegenerative disease (100-110 days), a selected set of transcripts rose by as much as 100 fold. In contrast, normal brain inoculated controls showed no similar sequential changes. In sum, rapid and simple PCR tests defined progressive stages of CJD brain infection. These markers may also facilitate early diagnosis of CJD in accessible peripheral tissues such as spleen and blood. Because some TSE strains can differentially target particular cell types such as microglia, several of these molecular changes may also distinguish specific agent strains. The many host responses to the CJD agent challenge the assumption that the immune system does not recognize TSE infections because these agents are composed only of the host's own PrP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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