TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalitis) denotes neurological diseases caused by prions (misfolded prion proteins, PrPsc). The most prominent form of this incurable and fatal disease is BSE (bovine spongiform encephalitis), which occurs in cattle and is commonly known as mad cow disease.
Sheep and goats can also be affected (scrapie), as well as elk and deer (chronic wasting disease, CWD), and humans, too. In old age, the human disease can occur spontaneously and is known as classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (cCJD). From 1995 on, a zoonotic disease caused by the intake of BSE-containing foods emerged; it is known as the new variant nvCJD and mainly affects young people.
As a result of the BSE crisis at the end of the 1990s, the EU Commission passed measures to curtail this zoonosis. These measures defined in Regulation EU 999/2001 include a ban on feeding meat bone mill (MBM) to ruminants, the removal and destruction of specified risk material (SRM, i.e. nerve-containing tissue like the brain, spinal cord, etc.) from carcasses, and intensive diagnostic monitoring of the slaughtered ruminants prior to release to the food chain. Post mortem, the prion protein (PrPsc) can be detected immunologically in the brain stem as a causal marker for BSE.
Following the success of the introduced measures and the ensuing sharp decline in the number of BSE cases (worldwide fewer than 10 animals in 2012), the next action steps are now under investigation as part of the 2010-2015 roadmap (TSE Roadmap 2) and will be adapted according to the insights gained. The age of the animals to be tested has already been raised and the EU SRM list will be adapted to OIE norms.
The tried-and-tested monoclonal antibodies P4 and L42 can be used for the immunological determination of TSE in different species, e.g. with Western Blot or for immunohistochemistry. You can find R-Biopharm products for the detection of BSE in the BSE category.
Cross-species ELISAs serve to determine nerve tissues, i.e. specified risk material in meat products. Risk analysis can be made based on the quantitative determinations. Raw meat products or worktops and surfaces in the abattoirs and food production facilities can be tested with RIDASCREEN® Risk Material 10/5, and RIDASCREEN® Risk Material should be used for processed meats (cooked meats, sausages). Find our products in the corresponding category about risk material.