Atlas of foodborne infections
transmitted by contaminated food and water

Atlas of Patogens Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Transmissible spongiform encephalopaties (TSE)

CZ: Transmisivní (p?enosné) spongiformní encefalopatie
EN: Transmissible spongiform encephalopaties

Meat and Meat Products


Foodborne Disease:
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Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) are fatal degenerative brain diseases which include BSE in cattle, scrapie in sheep and kuru, CJD and new variant CJD (vCJD) in humans.

They are characterized by the appearance in the brain of vacuoles - clear holes that give the brain a sponge-like appearance - from which the conditions derive their name.

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Several theories have been proposed to explain the nature of the agents that cause TSE. Prusiner was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1997 for the prion theory, which postulates that the agent is a proteinaceous infectious particle (PrP) that is capable of replication without the need of an agent-specific nucleic acid.

The disease-associated prion (PrPs) has been shown to have a different helical shape to normal cellular prion protein (PrPc) found on neuronal cells and some other cells, for example lymphoid cells.

However, while it is widely acknowledged that PrPs is very closely associated with the causative agent, there is a reluctance by some to accept PrPs as the sole agent responsible for transmission.

Another hypothesis suggests the agent is an unconventional virus, while a third suggests that it is a virion that has similar properties to a virus but uses host proteins to coat its nucleic acid.


Source: Look at more pictures - part BSE

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