Detection of pathological molecular alterations in scrapie-infected hamster brain by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Jun 15;1501(2-3):189-99. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4439(00)00021-1.


In this report a new approach for the identification of pathological changes in scrapie-infected Syrian hamster brains using Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy is discussed. Using computer-based pattern recognition techniques and imaging, infrared maps with high structural contrast were obtained. This strategy permitted comparison of spectroscopic data from identical anatomical structures in scrapie-infected and control brains. Consistent alterations in membrane state-of-order, protein composition, carbohydrate and nucleic acid constituents were detected in scrapie-infected tissues. Cluster analysis performed on spectra of homogenized medulla oblongata and pons samples also reliably separated uninfected from infected specimens. This method provides a useful tool not only for the exploration of the disease process but also for the development of rapid diagnostic and screening techniques of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Mesocricetus
  • Microspectrophotometry
  • Scrapie / pathology*
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared* / methods