Prions? CJD/BSE Connection...

Shaun D. Carstairs shaunc at alumnae.caltech.edu
Fri Apr 5 13:09:11 EST 1996


dsc9w at avery.med.Virginia.EDU (David Cassarino) writes:

>> >Apart from pathological cases or examples in extremis (e.g. the Andes 
>> >plane crash) there is absolutely no evidence of 'normal' cannibalism 
>> >anywhere on earth. The transmission of kuru is not by the eating of human 
>> >brains but by the practice employed by those contracting this disaease of 
>> >exhuming their dead after a period of burial, and emptying the cranial 
>> >cavity of brain material by hand; the disease being transmitted through 
>> >small cuts in the skin.
>> 
>The only way to get CJD from ingestion of prions is via
>innoculation (ie, if you have cuts in your mouth or
>esophagus).  As proteins, prions are degraded to AAs in the stomach,
>and thus do not pose a significant threat in the normal GI
>system.  

Not true.  CJD can be transmitted through both parenteral and oral routes.
Prions are remarkably resistant to most agents, chemical and physical, and
are noteworthy for being protease-resistant, which means that they would
_not_ be digested in the stomach.

********************************************************
* Shaun D. Carstairs                                   *
* Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences *
* shaunc at alumni.caltech.edu                            *
* s98carstairs at usuhsb.usuhs.mil                        *
********************************************************



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