Downstate Medical Center, Departments of Neurology and Physiology/Pharmacology, Box 1213, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are fatal neurodegenerative disorders. Low levels of infectious agent and limited, infrequent success of disease transmissibility and PrP(Sc) detection have been reported with urine from experimentally infected clinical cervids and rodents. We report the detection of prion disease-associated seeding activity (PASA) in urine from naturally and orally infected sheep with clinical scrapie agent and orally infected preclinical and infected white-tailed deer with clinical chronic wasting disease (CWD). This is the first report on PASA detection of PrP(Sc) from the urine of naturally or preclinical prion-diseased ovine or cervids. Detection was achieved by using the surround optical fiber immunoassay (SOFIA) to measure the products of limited serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA). Conversion of PrP(C) to PrP(Sc) was not influenced by the presence of poly(A) during sPMCA or by the homogeneity of the PrP genotypes between the PrP(C) source and urine donor animals. Analysis of the sPMCA-SOFIA data resembled a linear, rather than an exponential, course. Compared to uninfected animals, there was a 2- to 4-log increase of proteinase K-sensitive, light chain immunoglobulin G (IgG) fragments in scrapie-infected sheep but not in infected CWD-infected deer. The higher-than-normal range of IgG levels found in the naturally and experimentally infected clinical scrapie-infected sheep were independent of their genotypes. Although analysis of urine samples throughout the course of infection would be necessary to determine the usefulness of altered IgG levels as a disease biomarker, detection of PrP(Sc) from PASA in urine points to its potential value for antemortem diagnosis of prion diseases.