Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Manganese and Scrapie

Sheep infected with scrapie and cows infected with BSE ("mad cow" disease) have elevated levels of manganese in their blood before clinical symptoms appear, according to new research.

The findings, published in the Journal of Animal Science, also show that scrapie-resistant sheep produce elevated levels of the metal when “challenged” with the disease.

The findings raise the possibility of using manganese levels in the blood as a potential diagnostic marker for prion infection. At present, only post-mortem examination of the brain tissue gives a certain diagnosis.

According to the researcher, "the origin of the increased manganese in the brains and blood of infected animals remains unknown."

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Thanks to Bev Pearsall for suggesting this article for the blog.