Analysis of PrPc mRNA by in situ hybridization in brain, placenta, uterus and testis of rats

Intervirology. 1995;38(6):309-15. doi: 10.1159/000150457.


An amyloid-like isoform of a 33- to 34-kD glycoprotein, termed as the scrapie prion protein (PrPsc), plays a critical role in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies of animals and humans. It has even been suggested to present the responsible infectious agent. This protein is a posttranslationally modified form of the cellular isoform of prion protein (PrPc). Hitherto, little has been known about the functions of PrPc. In order to examine the localization of PrPc mRNA in rat tissues, the in situ hybridization technique was performed. In rat brain, PrPc mRNA was predominantly localized within pyramidal cells of the hippocampus, large neurons of the thalamus and neocortex, and Purkinje cells of the cerebellum. In the placenta, not only PrPc mRNA was localized to a subpopulation of decidual cells at the highest levels, it was also expressed in the amnion and mesodermal layer of the yolk sac. Furthermore, PrPc mRNA was also expressed in the myometrium of the uterus and seminiferous tubule in the testis. However, signals were not obtained in the lung, spleen, liver of prenatals and other fetus tissues. The distribution of rat PrPc mRNA portrayed the levels which were different among the various types of cells, suggesting that its expression may be regulated in a tissue-specific manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Female
  • In Situ Hybridization*
  • Male
  • Organ Specificity
  • Placenta / chemistry*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prions / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Testis / chemistry*
  • Uterus / chemistry*


  • Prions
  • RNA, Messenger