Selective neuronal vulnerability during experimental scrapie infection: insights from an ultrastructural investigation

Brain Res. 2000 Aug 25;874(2):210-5. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(00)02498-7.


The goal was to test whether all neurons are equally susceptible to degeneration in response to PrP(Sc) scrapie infection. We tested this by immunogold GABA labeling. Our ultrastructural results indicates that GABAergic neurons are less vulnerable than other neuronal populations. This conclusion is supported by our findings: (1) reversal of the normal ratio of non-GABAergic to GABAergic neurons in the terminal stages, which implies that non-GABAergic neurons degenerated earlier, and (2) that the degeneration of GABAergic neurons occurs late in the disease after reactive astrogliosis, a response to nerve cell death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cricetinae
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology
  • Nerve Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Scrapie / pathology*
  • Scrapie / physiopathology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid