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Abstract

Recently, we have proposed that the fluorescence spectra of sheep retina can be well correlated with the presence or absence of scrapie. Scrapie is the most widespread TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy) affecting sheep and goats worldwide. Mice eyes have been previously reported as a model system to study age-related accumulation of lipofuscin, which has been investigated by monitoring the increasing fluorescence with age covering its entire life span. The current work aims at developing mice retina as a convenient model system to diagnose scrapie and other fatal TSE diseases in animals such as sheep and cows. The objective of the research reported here was to determine whether the spectral features are conserved between two different species namely mice and sheep, and whether an appropriate small animal model system could be identified for diagnosis of scrapie based on the fluorescence intensity in retina. The results were consistent with the previous reports on fluorescence studies of healthy and scrapie-infected retina of sheep. The fluorescence from the retinas of scrapie-infected sheep was significantly more intense and showed more heterogeneity than that from the retinas of uninfected mice. Although the structural characteristics of fluorescence spectra of scrapie-infected sheep and mice eyes are slightly different, more importantly, murine retinas reflect the enhancement of fluorescence intensity upon infecting the mice with scrapie, which is consistent with the observations in sheep eyes.