Investigation of prion removal/inactivation from chromatographic gel

Vox Sang. 2006 Nov;91(4):301-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1423-0410.2006.00830.x.


Background and objectives: Concerns about the potential for prions to be retained on chromatography gels during the manufacture of plasma products prompted development of an investigational strategy for detecting infectious prions bound to gels. The objective was to firstly examine methods of implanting gels intracerebrally (IC) in mice, then to examine prion cleaning from a scaled-down version of the DEAE Sepharose column used in a production process to fractionate immunoglobulins and albumin from human plasma.

Materials and methods: The study consisted of two parts: (i) the pathophysiological impact by IC inoculation of ground gel beads was compared to whole gel beads; (ii) the feedstreams to two DEAE Sepharose columns were spiked with scrapie ME7. One column was subjected to the protein loading and elution portions of the chromatography cycle. The other column was subjected to the full cycle of protein loading and elution, followed by regeneration with 0.5 m NaCl, 1 m NaOH and solvent/detergent washes. The gels were unpacked and bioassayed by IC implantation in mice to quantify infectivity.

Results: IC inoculation of ground gel beads resulted in unacceptably high pathological impact in the mice whereas whole gel bead inoculation resulted in a reduced affect. Accordingly, the whole bead model system was used to assess prion removal/inactivation from chromatography gels at the pre- and postcleaning stage of the chromatography cycle. Infectious prions were detected on the DEAE Sepharose prior to the cleaning step; however, the gel cleaning cycle reduced infectivity by a log reduction factor (LRF) of > or = 2.75, thus reducing infectivity by bioassay to below detectable limits.

Conclusions: A model system for assessment of prion inactivation/removal from chromatography gels has been established. Spiked prion infectivity does bind to DEAE Sepharose gel; however, the cleaning cycle removed infectivity to levels below that detectable by bioassay.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Chromatography, DEAE-Cellulose
  • Chromatography, Gel / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Mice
  • Prion Diseases / therapy*
  • Prions / blood
  • Prions / isolation & purification*
  • Scrapie / therapy
  • Sorption Detoxification / methods*


  • Prions