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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 1985 May-Jun;11(3):213-27.

Pathogenesis of mouse scrapie: dynamics of vacuolation in brain and spinal cord after intraperitoneal infection.


At the late clinical stage of scrapie in mice, the severity and distribution of vacuolation in the brain (the lesion profile) is largely determined by the strain of agent and the genotype of the mouse: under controlled conditions, lesion profiles can be used to distinguish between scrapie strains. This paper describes the sequential development of lesions in brain at much earlier times and includes a study of spinal cord. Mice (CW) were infected intraperitoneally with 139A scrapie. Grey matter vacuolation first occurred in thoracic cord, developing later in lumbar and cervical cords, and then in various brain regions in a caudal to rostral sequence. This pattern closely matches the sequential spread of infection from mid-thoracic cord to much of the CNS that was previously found in this scrapie model. Further studies of grey matter in spinal cord suggest that agent entered the mid-thoracic region via sympathetic fibres. Vacuolation in white matter mirrored the grey matter pattern within an area but always occurred later. The severity of grey matter vacuolation in the four areas of the CNS where it developed early, reached plateau levels before the clinical stage of scrapie, but the severity was still increasing at the clinical stage in areas where vacuolation had started late. Hence the severity of lesions in a particular area may sometimes be limited by the time available for them to develop before the host dies. It appears that the distribution of vacuolation in this particular scrapie model is initially influenced by that of the infectious agent and only later does it reflect the distribution of vacuolation target areas shown by the characteristic lesion profile.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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