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Tissue distribution of bovine spongiform encephalopathy infectivity in Romney sheep up to the onset of clinical disease after oral challenge
  1. S. J. Bellworthy, BVSc, MRCVS,
  2. S. A. C. Hawkins, MIBiol,
  3. R. B. Green,
  4. I. Blamire,
  5. G. Dexter,
  6. I. Dexter,
  7. R. Lockey, BSc,
  8. S. Ryder, MA, VetMB, PhD, CertVR, MRCVS,
  9. C. Berthelin-Baker, DV, DipACVIM, MRCVS,
  10. M. M. Simmons, BVMS, MVM, PhD, MRCVS1 and
  11. M. Jeffrey, BVMS, DVM, DipECVP, MRCVS, FRCPath2
  1. 1 Pathology Department, VLA — Weybridge, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB
  2. 2 Veterinary Laboratory, VLA — Lasswade, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik EH26 0PZ


Sixty Romney sheep of three prion protein genotypes were dosed orally at six months of age with an inoculum prepared from the brains of cattle clinically affected with BSE, and 15 sheep were left undosed as controls. They were randomly assigned within genotype to groups and were sequentially euthanased and examined postmortem at intervals of six or 12 months, depending on their predicted susceptibility. Tissue pools prepared from the three, four or five dosed animals in each group were inoculated into groups of 20 RIII mice as a bioassay for infectivity. Separate inocula were prepared from the matched control sheep killed at each time. In the ARQ/ARQ sheep killed four months after inoculation, infectivity was detected in the Peyer's patch tissue pool, and at 10 months it was detected in the spleen pool; from 16 months, infectivity was detected in a range of nervous and lymphoreticular tissues, including the spinal cord pool, distal ileum excluding Peyer's patches, liver, Peyer's patches, mesenteric and prescapular lymph nodes, spleen, tonsil and cervical thymus. No infectivity was detected in the tissue pools from the ARQ/ARR and ARR/ARR sheep killed 10 months or 22 months after infection.

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