Subclinical bovine spongiform encephalopathy infection in transgenic mice expressing porcine prion protein.
In an experimental study of the transmissibility of BSE to the pig, seven of 10 pigs, infected at 1-2 weeks of age by multiple-route parenteral inoculation with a homogenate of bovine brain from natural BSE cases developed lesions typical of spongiform encephalopathy. The lesions consisted principally of severe neuropil vacuolation affecting most areas of the brain, but mainly the forebrain. In addition, some vacuolar change was identified in the rostral colliculi and hypothalamic areas of normal control pigs. PrP accumulations were detected immunocytochemically in the brains of BSE-infected animals. PrP accumulation was sparse in many areas and its density was not obviously related to the degree of vacuolation. The patterns of PrP immunolabelling in control pigs differed strikingly from those in the infected animals.