Detection of PrPSc in lung and mammary gland is favored by the presence of Visna/maedi virus lesions in naturally coinfected sheep
Department of Animal Pathology, Veterinary Faculty, University of Zaragoza, 177 Miguel Servet street, 50013 Zaragoza, Spain
2 Research Center on Encephalopaties and Emerging Diseases, University of Zaragoza, 177 Miguel Servet street, 50013 Zaragoza, Spain
3 Neiker-Tecnalia (Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development), 48160 Derio, Spain
4 Institute of Agrobiotechnology, CSIC-Public University of Navarra-Government of Navarra, Car. Mutilva Baja, 31192 Mutilva Baja, Spain
5 Enfermedades Parasitarias, Faculdad de Veterinaria, Campus de Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, Spain
* Corresponding author: Lluis.Lujan@unizar.es
Accepted: 27 April 2010
There are few reports on the pathogenesis of scrapie (Sc) and Visna/maedi virus (VMV) coinfections. The aim of this work was to study in vivo as well as post mortem both diseases in 91 sheep. Diagnosis of Sc and VMV infections allowed the distribution of animals into five groups according to the presence (+) or absence (−) of infection by Sc and VMV: Sc−/VMV−, Sc−/VMV+, Sc+/VMV− and Sc+/VMV+. The latter was divided into two subgroups, with and without VMV-induced lymphoid follicle hyperplasia (LFH), respectively. In both the lung and mammary gland, PrPSc deposits were found in the germinal center of hyperplasic lymphoid follicles in the subgroup of Sc+/VMV+ having VMV-induced LFH. This detection was always associated with (and likely preceded by) PrPSc observation in the corresponding lymph nodes. No PrPSc was found in other VMV-associated lesions. Animals suffering from scrapie had a statistically significantly lower mean age than the scrapie free animals at the time of death, with no apparent VMV influence. ARQ/ARQ genotype was the most abundant among the 91 ewes and the most frequent in scrapie-affected sheep. VMV infection does not seem to influence the scrapie risk group distribution among animals from the five groups established in this work. Altogether, these data indicate that certain VMV-induced lesions can favor PrPSc deposits in Sc non-target organs such as the lung and the mammary gland, making this coinfection an interesting field that warrants further research for a better comprehension of the pathogenesis of both diseases.
Key words: Visna / maedi / scrapie / sheep / coinfection
© The authors, INRA/EDP Sciences, 2010
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