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Close Vicinity of PrP Expressing Cells (FDC) with Noradrenergic Fibers in Healthy Sheep Spleen

In naturally and experimentally occurring scrapie in sheep, prions invade the immune system and replicate in lymphoid organs. Here we analysed immunohistochemically, in seven spleens of 6-month-old healthy sheep, the nature of the cells expressing prion protein (PrP) potentially supporting prion replication, as well as their relationship with autonomic innervation. PrP was identified using either RB1 rabbit antiserum or 4F2 monoclonal antibody directed against AA 108–123 portion of the bovine and AA 79–92 of human prion protein respectively. Using double labelling analysis, we demonstrated that PrPc is expressed by follicular dendritic cells using a specific monoclonal antibody (CNA42). We also showed the close vicinity of these PrP expressing cells with noradrenergic fibers, using a polyclonal tyrosine hydroxylase antibody. Our results may help the study of the cellular requirements for the possible neuroinvasion from the spleen.