Experimental Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the Ferret

C. J. Sigurdson, C. K. Mathiason, M. R. Perrott, G. A. Eliason, T. R. Spraker, M. Glatzel, G. Manco, Jason C. Bartz, M. W. Miller, E. A. Hoover

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Abstract

Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a prion disease of North American deer, elk and moose, affects both free-ranging and captive cervids. The potential host range for CWD remains uncertain. The susceptibility of the ferret to CWD was examined experimentally by administering infectious brain material by the intracerebral (IC) or oral (PO) route. Between 15 and 20 months after IC inoculation, ferrets developed neurological signs consistent with prion disease, including polyphagia, somnolence, piloerection, lordosis and ataxia. Upon first sub-passage of ferret-adapted CWD, the incubation period decreased to 5 months. Spongiform change in the neuropil was most marked in the basal ganglia, thalamus, midbrain and pons. The deposition of PrPCWD was granular and was occasionally closely associated with, or localized within, neurons. There were no plaque-like or perivascular PrP aggregates as seen in CWD-infected cervids. In western blots, the PrPCWD glycoform profile resembled that of CWD in deer, typified by a dominant diglycosylated glycoform. CWD disease in ferrets followed IC but not PO inoculation, even after 31 months of observation. These findings indicate that CWD-infected ferrets share microscopical and biochemical features of CWD in cervids, but appear to be relatively resistant to oral infection by primary CWD inoculum of deer origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
Volume138
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Sigurdson, C. J., Mathiason, C. K., Perrott, M. R., Eliason, G. A., Spraker, T. R., Glatzel, M., ... Hoover, E. A. (2008). Experimental Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the Ferret. Journal of Comparative Pathology, 138(4), 189-196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcpa.2008.01.004