Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Discover Eye Test for Neurological Diseases in Livestock

21.10.2010
The eyes of sheep infected with scrapie – a neurological disorder similar to mad cow disease – return an intense, almost-white glow when they’re hit with blue excitation light, according to a research project led by Iowa State University’s Jacob Petrich.

The findings suggest technologies and techniques can be developed to quickly and noninvasively test for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, progressive and fatal neurological diseases such as mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Petrich, in fact, is working to develop a testing device.

The findings were published earlier this year in the journal Analytical Chemistry. The project was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The research is the result of an accidental discovery while Petrich and his collaborators were developing a fluorescence spectroscopy device that’s now used in slaughterhouses to test livestock carcasses for feces and possible E. coli contamination.

“One day we were testing the apparatus by shining light on the carcass and we saw the spinal cord glow – it fluoresced,” said Petrich, professor and chair of Iowa State’s chemistry department. “We saw the spinal cord through the skin. The light was pretty intense. It was an amazing result.”

That sparked some new thinking: Maybe fluorescence technology could be used to test animals for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy – what’s often called mad cow disease. To reduce the risk of human exposure to the diseases, the brains and spinal cords of animals are removed during slaughter and processing. But there is no quick test to identify animals with the diseases.

And so Petrich and a team of researchers began studying the feasibility of a fluorescence test. The team included Ramkrishna Adhikary, an Iowa State graduate student in chemistry; Prasun Mukherjee, a former Iowa State graduate student and current post-doctoral associate in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh; Govindarajan Krishnamoorthy, a former Iowa State post-doctoral research associate and current assistant professor of chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati; Robert Kunkle of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Disease Center in Ames; Thomas Casey of the National Animal Disease Center; and Mark Rasmussen of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine in Laurel, Md.

The researchers collected 140 eyeballs from 73 sheep. Thirty five of those sheep were infected with scrapie; 38 were not. The researchers took fluorescence readings from various parts of the eyes of all the sheep.

“The bottom line is the scrapie-positive retinas fluoresced like crazy,” Petrich said. “And the scrapie-negative ones did not.”

A previous study published in the journal Veterinary Pathology reported that the function and structure of retinas are altered in cattle infected with transmissible mink encephalopathy. Members of that study team included Iowa State researchers M. Heather West Greenlee, an associate professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine; Justin Greenlee, a collaborator assistant professor of biomedical sciences; and Juergen Richt, a collaborator associate professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine.

Other studies have reported that lipofuscin, an intracellular fluorescent pigment, accumulates in the eyes of animals infected with the neurological diseases. Petrich and his team attribute the glow from scrapie-positive retinas to the elevated levels of lipofuscin.

Whatever the cause, Petrich said it’s clear there are distinct differences in the fluorescence and spectroscopic signatures of retinas from sheep that were naturally infected with scrapie and those that were not. And so he and his research team think there’s great promise for a diagnostic test based on that discovery.

That has Petrich starting to develop a device (he likes to call it a “gizmo”) that could be used in meat plants to test the retinas of animals for signs of neurological diseases. He expects it will take several years to develop, build and test a useful device.

“What I like about this is it’s really simple,” Petrich said. “It’s light in and light out.”

Contacts:
Jacob Petrich, Chemistry, 515-294-9422, jwp@iastate.edu
Mike Krapfl, News Service, 515-294-4917, mkrapfl@iastate.edu

Mike Krapfl | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>