Prion disorders, or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are a group of diseases that affect the nervous system of humans and animals. Some prion diseases known to date are Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Kuru in humans and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and scrapie in animals (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). They are caused by misfolded infectious proteins and known to be transmitted by digesting neural tissue. Prion diseases are very rare and have no known cure. Once infectious prions enter the central nervous system, it causes impaired brain function that leads to problems such as dementia and abnormal movements (Genetics Home Reference, 2014).
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These findings raise questions on prion transmission and the possibility that prion transmission is enhanced through excretory organs that are inflamed. It is crucial to find out whether prion transmission is possible through other inflamed excretory pathways such as the prostate gland. This could mean humans or animals that have acute bacterial prostatitis can transmit deadly, infectious prions through semen into a female mate. It can also potentially add supporting evidence for ways to transmit infectious prions. Therefore, model organisms such as mice can be used to determine if prions can be transmitted through semen from an inflamed prostate or other inflamed excretory organs in general. Given the strong evidence that mice and sheep can transmit prions through excretions of urine and milk, it can be safely assumed that mice with prostatitis will transmit prions through semen into female mice.
A total of 46 healthy mice will be used for experimentation. There will be 22 males and 24 females. 10 baby male mice will be will be inoculated with Escherichia coli (E. Coli) to develop prostatitis and 10 baby male mice will be inoculated with culture medium. Urine tests will be done to test for prostatitis. After diagnosis, the mice will be injected with brain homogenates that are prion infected. The Prnp gene will be sequenced to see if the mice express the genotype required to be susceptible to prion disease. 2 male mice will be used as negative controls. They will receive culture medium instead of E. coli and they will be injected with healthy brain homogenate. When the mice old enough to breed and show signs of prion disease, they will be naturally bred with the female mice. 2 female mice will be injected with prion-infected brain homogenate to be used as positive controls.
All the male and female mice will be immunostained for PrP for an immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay of their brainstems which will show if there are any PrPSc deposits in the brainstem. The prostate gland in the male mice will also be immunostained for PrP to check for PrPSc deposits. All the mice brainstem and prostate glands will then be proteinase K...