Date of this Version
Nichols T.A., T.R. Spraker, T.D. Rigg, C. Meyerett-Reid, C. Hoover, B. Michel, J. Bian, E. Hoover, T. Gidlewski, A. Balachandran, K. O'Rourke, G.C. Telling, R. Bowen, M.D. Zabel, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2013. Intranasal inoculation of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with lyophilized Chronic Wasting Disease prion particulate complexed to montmorillonite clay. PLoS ONE 8(5): e62455. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062455.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD), the only known prion disease endemic in wildlife, is a persistent problem in both wild and captive North American cervid populations. This disease continues to spread and cases are found in new areas each year. Indirect transmission can occur via the environment and is thought to occur by the oral and/or intranasal route. Oral transmission has been experimentally demonstrated and although intranasal transmission has been postulated, it has not been tested in a natural host until recently. Prions have been shown to adsorb strongly to clay particles and upon oral inoculation the prion/clay combination exhibits increased infectivity in rodent models. Deer and elk undoubtedly and chronically inhale dust particles routinely while living in the landscape while foraging and rutting. We therefore hypothesized that dust represents a viable vehicle for intranasal CWD prion exposure. To test this hypothesis, CWD-positive brain homogenate was mixed with montmorillonite clay (Mte), lyophilized, pulverized and inoculated intranasally into white-tailed deer once a week for 6 weeks. Deer were euthanized at 95, 105, 120 and 175 days post final inoculation and tissues examined for CWD-associated prion proteins by immunohistochemistry. Our results demonstrate that CWD can be efficiently transmitted utilizing Mte particles as a prion carrier and intranasal exposure.