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Vol. 3, No. 3, 2006
Issue release date: September 2006
Neurodegenerative Dis 2006;3:123–128

Urine from Scrapie-Infected Hamsters Comprises Low Levels of Prion Infectivity

Kariv-Inbal Z. · Ben-Hur T. · Grigoriadis N.C. · Engelstein R. · Gabizon R.
aDepartment of Neurology, The Agnes Ginges Center for Human Neurogenetics, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel; bDepartment of Neurology, Laboratory of Experimental Neurology, AHEPA University Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

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The question of whether prion diseases can be transmitted by body fluids has important epidemiological, environmental and economical implications. In this work, we set to investigate whether urine collected from scrapie-infected hamsters can transmit fatal or subclinical infectivity to normal hamsters. After prolonged incubation times ranging from 300 to 700 days, a small number of animals inoculated with scrapie urine succumbed to scrapie disease, and several asymptomatic hamsters presented low levels of PrPSc in their brains. In addition, most of the asymptomatic hamsters inoculated with scrapie urine, as opposed to those inoculated with normal urine, presented extensive gliosis as well as protease-resistant light chain IgG in their urine, a molecule shown by us and others to be a surrogate marker for prion infection. Our results suggest that urine from scrapie-infected hamsters can transmit a widespread subclinical disease that in some cases develops into fatal scrapie.

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