Prions, infectious proteins associated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow Disease, were previously thought to accumulate mainly in the brain, but Yale and University of Zurich researchers report in Science that other organs can also become infected.
Past research had shown that the brain and spinal cord bear the highest infection risk for BSE, followed by organs such as the spleen, lymph nodes and tonsils. All other organs were thought to be devoid of prions.
Ruddle and co-authors analyzed three organ systems that are typically free of prions: liver, pancreas and kidney, in five different mouse models of chronic inflammation. After the mice were infected with prions, the team detected prion accumulation in the inflamed organs. They concluded that the spectrum of organs containing prions might be considerably increased in situations of chronic inflammation.
Karen N. Peart | EurekAlert!
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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