Expression of the prion protein in the rat forebrain--an immunohistochemical study

Neurosci Lett. 1999 Sep 3;272(1):9-12. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(99)00563-7.


The cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) is crucial for the development of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), where the pathogenic scrapie isoform (PrP(Sc)) of the same protein, is considered to be the principal or sole infectious agent. Here, we report findings on PrP(C) expression in the rat forebrain, using immunohistochemical techniques on free floating sections of 60 microm thickness. Along with neurons and astrocytes in the gray matter, PrP(c) was detected for the first time in glial cells of the white matter and in cells of circumventricular organs. PrP(C) positive cellular processes were also found to be closely associated with intraparenchymal blood vessels, often in the form of end feet. Interestingly, PrP(C) expression was observed in areas where PrP(Sc) deposition in late stages of infection has been earlier reported in the rat and other species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Male
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • PrPC Proteins / metabolism*
  • Prion Diseases / etiology
  • Prion Diseases / physiopathology
  • Prosencephalon / blood supply
  • Prosencephalon / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • PrPC Proteins