Hamster Scrapie: Evidence for Alterations in Serotonin Metabolism
The subacute spongiform virus encephalopathies—scrapie, transmissible mink encephalopathy, kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease—are central nervous system disorders characterized histopathologically by neuronal loss, vacuolation of neuron processes, and glial hypertrophy (1). Clinical disease appears only after the production of high titers of virus in the brain itself (2). Significant reductions in brain choline acetyltransferase activities have been reported during the late stages of clinical disease caused by several strains of mouse scrapie (3), thus suggesting a disturbance in the cholinergic nervous system. We have investigated the involvement of serotonergic neurons by comparing the effects of a serotonin precursor and an agonist on the behavior of scrapie-infected and control hamsters and by measurement of brain serotonin (L-5-hydroxytryptamine) concentrations in both groups. We have also compared blood serotonin concentrations in infected and control animals.
KeywordsBrain Serotonin Serotonin Concentration Normal Hamster Infected Hamster Blood Serotonin
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