Can Gene Expression Profiling make it Possible to Predict Deadly Infections in Cattle?
A new study suggests that gene expression profiling may allow researchers to track the progression of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and ultimately predict their infectious status. The researchers from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Surrey, United Kingdom and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany detail their findings in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Virology. Prion diseases are transmissible, and inevitably fatal, neurodegenerative disorders that are responsible for BSE in cattle, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans, and scrapie in sheep and goats. The first cases of BSE were reported in the United Kingdom in 1986 and reached epidemic proportions by 1992 at which point up to 185,000 cattle had succumbed to the disease. Contaminated meat and bone meal, common dietary supplements, are believed to be the cause of oral infection in cattle and BSE is considered to be the origin of the human disease variant of which th