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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2007 Nov;19(6):680-6.

Age-related lesions in laboratory-confined raccoons (Procyon lotor) inoculated with the agent of chronic wasting disease of mule deer.

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  • 1National Animal Disease Center, ARS, USDA, 2300 Dayton Avenue, P.O. Box 70, Ames, IA 50010, USA.


This communication documents age-associated pathologic changes and final observations on experimental transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) by the intracerebral route to raccoons (Procyon lotor). Four kits were inoculated intracerebrally with a brain suspension from mule deer with CWD. Two uninoculated kits served as controls. One CWD-inoculated raccoon was humanely killed at 38 months after inoculation, and 1 control animal died at 68 months after inoculation. Both animals had lesions that were unrelated to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. Six years after inoculation, none of the 3 remaining CWD-inoculated raccoons had shown clinical signs of neurologic disorder, and the experiment was terminated. Spongiform encephalopathy was not observed by light microscopy, and the presence of abnormal prion protein (PrP(d)) was not detected by either immunohistochemistry or Western blot techniques. Age-related lesions observed in these raccoons included islet-cell pancreatic amyloidosis (5/6), cystic endometrial hyperplasia (3/4), cerebrovascular mineralization (5/6), neuroaxonal degeneration (3/6), transitional-cell adenoma of the urinary bladder (1/6), and myocardial inclusions (4/6). The latter 2 pathologic conditions were not previously reported in raccoons.

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