Cross-species Transmission of CWD Prions

Prion. 2016;10(1):83-91. doi: 10.1080/19336896.2015.1118603.


Prions cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals and can be transmitted zoonotically. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a highly transmissible prion disease of wild deer and elk that affects cervids over extensive regions of the United States and Canada. The risk of cross-species CWD transmission has been experimentally evaluated in a wide array of mammals, including non-human primates and mouse models expressing human cellular prion protein. Here we review the determinants of cross-species CWD transmission, and propose a model that may explain a structural barrier for CWD transmission to humans.

Keywords: CJD; amyloid; chronic wasting disease; neurodegeneration; prion; zoonotic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Primates
  • Prions* / chemistry
  • Prions* / metabolism
  • Prions* / pathogenicity
  • Species Specificity
  • Wasting Disease, Chronic / transmission*
  • Zoonoses / transmission


  • Prions