Open Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 39, Number 4, July-August 2008
Prion diseases in animals
Number of page(s) 12
Published online 03 April 2008
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2008) 39:41
How to cite this article: Vet. Res. (2008) 39:41
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2008018


A prion disease of cervids: Chronic wasting disease

Christina J. Sigurdson

Department of Pathology, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0612, USA

Received 1 November 2007; accepted 31 March 2008; published online 3 April 2008

Abstract - Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease of deer, elk, and moose, initially recognized in Colorado mule deer. The discovery of CWD beyond the borders of Colorado and Wyoming, in Canada and as far east as New York, has led to its emergence as a prion disease of international importance. Epidemiological studies indicate that CWD is horizontally transmitted among free-ranging animals, potentially indirectly by prion-containing secreta or excreta contaminating the environment. Experimental CWD transmission attempts to other wild and domestic mammals and to transgenic mice expressing the prion protein of cattle, sheep, and humans have shed light on CWD species barriers. Transgenic mice expressing the cervid prion protein have proven useful for assessing the genetic influences of Prnp polymorphisms on CWD susceptibility. Accumulating evidence of CWD pathogenesis indicates that the misfolded prion protein or prion infectivity seems to be widely disseminated in many nonneural organs and in blood. This review highlights contemporary research findings in this prion disease of free-ranging wildlife.

Key words: CWD / prion / TSE / cervid / amyloid

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008