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Volume 1: Findings and Conclusions
12. Science and research
Alternative theories
The organophosphate theory
The autoimmune theory

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The organophosphate theory

1123 The theory that BSE was caused by a reaction to the use of organophosphorus compounds (OPs) poured on cattle as systemic pesticides cannot be reconciled with the epidemiology and is not supported by research. One experiment has, however, given some limited support to the possibility that the OP phosmet might modify the susceptibility of cells to the prion disease agent.

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The autoimmune theory

1124 There are a number of reasons why this theory does not seem viable, including:

  • the fact that mouse-adapted BSE can be transmitted by intracerebral inoculation to mice lacking a functional immune system; and
  • the fact that the theory is incompatible with what has been established about the central role of the prion protein in TSEs.
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