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A versatile prion replication assay in organotypic brain slices


Falsig, J; Julius, C; Margalith, I; Schwarz, P; Heppner, F L; Aguzzi, A (2008). A versatile prion replication assay in organotypic brain slices. Nature Neuroscience, 11(1):109-117.

Abstract

Methods enabling prion replication ex vivo are important for advancing prion studies. However, few such technologies exist, and many prion strains are not amenable to them. Here we describe a prion organotypic slice culture assay (POSCA) that allows prion amplification and titration ex vivo under conditions that closely resemble intracerebral infection. Thirty-five days after contact with prions, mouse cerebellar slices had amplified the abnormal isoform of prion protein, PrP(Sc), >10(5)-fold. This is quantitatively similar to amplification in vivo, but fivefold faster. PrP(Sc) accumulated predominantly in the molecular layer, as in infected mice. The POSCA detected replication of prion strains from disparate sources, including bovines and ovines, with variable detection efficiency. Pharmacogenetic ablation of microglia from POSCA slices led to a 15-fold increase in prion titers and PrP(Sc) concentrations over those in microglia-containing slices, as well as an increase in susceptibility to infection. This suggests that the extensive microglial activation accompanying prion diseases represents an efficacious defensive reaction.

Abstract

Methods enabling prion replication ex vivo are important for advancing prion studies. However, few such technologies exist, and many prion strains are not amenable to them. Here we describe a prion organotypic slice culture assay (POSCA) that allows prion amplification and titration ex vivo under conditions that closely resemble intracerebral infection. Thirty-five days after contact with prions, mouse cerebellar slices had amplified the abnormal isoform of prion protein, PrP(Sc), >10(5)-fold. This is quantitatively similar to amplification in vivo, but fivefold faster. PrP(Sc) accumulated predominantly in the molecular layer, as in infected mice. The POSCA detected replication of prion strains from disparate sources, including bovines and ovines, with variable detection efficiency. Pharmacogenetic ablation of microglia from POSCA slices led to a 15-fold increase in prion titers and PrP(Sc) concentrations over those in microglia-containing slices, as well as an increase in susceptibility to infection. This suggests that the extensive microglial activation accompanying prion diseases represents an efficacious defensive reaction.

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58 citations in Web of Science®
58 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Neuropathology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:30 January 2008
Deposited On:27 Oct 2008 12:01
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:31
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1097-6256
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/nn2028
PubMed ID:18066056

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