Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative diseases that can induce endocrinopathies. The basis of altered endocrine function in prion diseases is not well understood, and the purpose of this study was to investigate the spatiotemporal relationship between energy homeostasis and prion infection in hamsters inoculated with either the 139H strain of scrapie agent, which induces preclinical weight gain, or the HY strain of transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME), which induces clinical weight loss. Temporal changes in body weight, feed, and water intake were measured as well as both non-fasted and fasted concentrations of serum glucose, insulin, glucagon, ??-ketones, and leptin. In 139H scrapie-infected hamsters, polydipsia, hyperphagia, non-fasted hyperinsulinemia with hyperglycemia, and fasted hyperleptinemia were found at preclinical stages and are consistent with an anabolic syndrome that has similarities to type II diabetes mellitus and/or metabolic syndrome X. In HY TME-infected hamsters, hypodipsia, hypersecretion of glucagon (in both non-fasted and fasted states), increased fasted ??-ketones, fasted hypoglycemia, and suppressed non-fasted leptin concentrations were found while feed intake was normal. These findings suggest a severe catabolic syndrome in HY TME infection mediated by chronic increases in glucagon secretion. In both models, alterations of pancreatic endocrine function were not associated with PrPSc deposition in the pancreas. The results indicate that prominent endocrinopathy underlies alterations in body weight, pancreatic endocrine function, and intake of food. The prion-induced alterations of energy homeostasis in 139H scrapie- or HY TME-infected hamsters could occur within areas of the hypothalamus that control food satiety and/or within autonomic centers that provide neural outflow to the pancreas. ?? 2008 Society for Endocrinology.
Additional publication details
Prominent pancreatic endocrinopathy and altered control of food intake disrupt energy homeostasis in prion diseases