Previous studies have revealed that the infectious scrapie isoform of prion protein (PrPSc) harbored in the skin tissue of patients or animals with prion diseases can be amplified and detected through the serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) or real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assays. These findings suggest that skin PrPSc-seeding activity may serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis of prion diseases; however, its utility as a biomarker for prion therapeutics remains largely unknown. Cellulose ethers (CEs, such as TC-5RW), widely used as food and pharmaceutical additives, have recently been shown to prolong the lifespan of prion-infected mice and hamsters. Here we report that in transgenic (Tg) mice expressing hamster cellular prion protein (PrPC) infected with the 263K prion, the prion-seeding activity becomes undetectable in the skin tissues of TC-5RW-treated Tg mice by both sPMCA and RT-QuIC assays, whereas such prion-seeding activity is readily detectable in the skin of untreated mice. Notably, TC-5RW exhibits an inhibitory effect on the in vitro amplification of PrPSc in both skin and brain tissues by sPMCA and RT-QuIC. Moreover, we reveal that TC-5RW is able to directly decrease protease-resistant PrPSc and inhibit the seeding activity of PrPSc from chronic wasting disease and various human prion diseases. Our results suggest that the level of prion-seeding activity in the skin may serve as a useful biomarker for assessing the therapeutic efficacy of compounds in a clinical trial of prion diseases and that TC-5RW may have the potential for the prevention/treatment of human prion diseases.
- Cellulose ethers
- Prion diseases
- Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC)
- Serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA)