Pathogen prions are widely recognized as the causative agent in bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. However, more research on the possible transmission
routes of this agent once it has reached the host is needed. There is evidence based on the anatomy and physiology of the autonomous nervous system (ANS), as well as observations for different animal species,
that the ANS might be involved in the axonal drainage of pathogen prions toward the central nervous system. In this context, more attention should be paid to the cranial cervical ganglion, the stellate
ganglion, the chain of paravertebral ganglia next to the first six thoracic vertebrae, the chain of the paravertebral ganglia next to loin vertebrae 1 through 6, the vagus nerve in the neck region and in
the mediastine, and the esophagus (because of its close connection to the vagus nerve). For a more detailed risk analysis with respect to these tissues, the ANSs of animals having shown clinical signs of
BSE might be examined to corroborate the evidence presented here. In the meantime, as a precautionary measure, the tissue addressed should be taken out of the human food chain, taken out of animal feed,
and handled as if it were specified risk material. It is technically possible to remove these parts during cutting and dressing.
Document Type: Miscellaneous
Institute of Meat Hygiene, Free University of Berlin, Bruemmerstrasse 10, D 14195, Berlin, Germany 2:
Institute of Food Hygiene, Free University of Berlin, Bruemmerstrasse 10, D 14195, Berlin, Germany 3:
Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, Free University of Berlin, Bruemmerstrasse 10, D 14195, Berlin, Germany
Publication date: May 1, 2003
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