Exosome-producing follicle associated epithelium is not involved in uptake of PrPd from the gut of sheep (Ovis aries): an ultrastructural study.

In natural or experimental oral scrapie infection of sheep, disease associated prion protein (PrP(d)) often first accumulates in Peyer's patch (PP) follicles. The route by which infectivity reaches the follicles is unknown, however, intestinal epithelial cells may participate in intestinal antigenic presentation by delivering exosomes as vehicles of luminal antigens. In a previous study using an intestinal loop model, following inoculation of scrapie brain homogenate, inoculum associated PrP(d) was detected by light microscopy shortly (15 minutes to 3.5 hours) after inoculation in the villous lacteals and sub-mucosal lymphatics. No PrP(d) was located within the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE), sub-FAE domes or the PP follicles. To evaluate this gut loop model and the transportation routes in more detail, we used electron microscopy (EM) to study intestinal tissues exposed to scrapie or control homogenates for 15 minutes to 10 days. In addition, immuno-EM was used to investigate whether exosomes produced in the FAE may possess small amounts of PrP(d) that were not detectable by light microscopy. This study showed that the integrity of the intestinal epithelium was sustained in the intestinal loop model. Despite prominent transcytotic activity and exosome release from the FAE of the ileal PP in sheep, these structures were not associated with transportation of PrP(d) across the mucosa. The study did not determine how infectivity reaches the follicles of PPs. The possibility that the infectious agent is transported across the FAE remains a possibility if it occurs in a form that is undetectable by the methods used in this study. Infectivity may also be transported via lymph to the blood and further to all other lymphoid tissues including the PP follicles, but the early presence of PrP(d) in the PP follicles during scrapie infection argues against such a mechanism.
AuthorsCaroline Piercey Åkesson, Gillian McGovern, Mark P Dagleish, Arild Espenes, Charles McL Press, Thor Landsverk, Martin Jeffrey
JournalPloS one (PLoS One) Vol. 6 Issue 7 Pg. e22180 ( 2011) ISSN: 1932-6203 [Electronic] United States
PMID21789232 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Prions
  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Epithelium (metabolism, pathology, ultrastructure)
  • Exosomes (metabolism, ultrastructure)
  • Gastrointestinal Tract (metabolism, pathology, ultrastructure)
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (metabolism)
  • Microvilli (metabolism, pathology, ultrastructure)
  • Peyer's Patches (metabolism, pathology, ultrastructure)
  • Prions (metabolism, pathogenicity)
  • Scrapie (metabolism, pathology)
  • Sheep

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