Molecular analysis of iatrogenic scrapie in Italy

Gianluigi Zanusso, Cristina Casalone, Pierluigi Acutis, Elena Bozzetta, Alessia Farinazzo, Matteo Gelati, Michele Fiorini, Gianluigi Forloni, Man Sun Sy, Salvatore Monaco, Maria Caramelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An accidental intra- and interspecies transmission of scrapie occurred in Italy in 1997 and 1998 following exposure to a vacine against Mycoplasma agalactiae. PrPSc in affected sheep and goats, collected from a single flock exposed to vaccination 2 years earlier, was molecularly typed. In five animals with iatrogenic scrapie, a PrPSc type with a 20 kDa core fragment was found in all areas of the brain investigated. In three sheep and one goat, this isoform co-occurred with a fully glycosylated isoform that had a protease-resistant backbone of 17 kDa, whereas in two sheep and four goats, the two PrPSc types were detected in different regions of the brain. In sheep with natural field scrapie, a PrPSc type with physico-chemical properties indistinguishable from the 20 kDa isoform was found. The present results suggest the co-presence of two prion strains in mammary gland and brain homogenates used for vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1052
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Immunology


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