Pig-human transplantation not PERVerted

September 01, 2004

Organ or tissue transplantation is a potentially life-saving measure for millions of individuals who have suffered organ failure or require tissue grafts for a variety of reasons. Today thousands die while waiting for suitable organs or tissues to become available. One potential means for relieving this shortage has been through xenotransplantation, that is to use organs or tissues from other organisms, such as pigs.

A major concern of xenotransplantation is the possibility of transmitting pathogens from these other species into the donor. Particular attention, for the case of transplantation of tissues and organs from pigs, has been paid to a set of pig-derived viruses called PERVs (for Porcine Endogenous RetroViruses) because they possess the ability, though limited, to replicate in human cells. So far, the actually frequency of PERV transmission within a living organism has not been tested in either patients or animal models under circumstances where human cells are exposed over a long term to similar amount of pig tissue.

Yong-Guang Yang and colleagues, from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, provide new data that indicate the dangers of such viral transmission may be extremely low and that pigs may be a safer source of transplantation material than previously thought. To carry out their assessment, the researchers developed a new xenotransplantation model where human cells coexist with large numbers of porcine cells in a transgenic mouse.

The study showed that these cells could in fact coexist long-term without PERV infection in the human cells. Although, the authors did find that human cells in these mice did contain PERV sequences, further investigation proved that this was the result of a mouse retrovirus infecting the pig cells and then transmitting the PERV from there to the human cells. This is not a concern in actual xenotransplantation, but intriguingly may account for previous observations of PERV transmission into human cells in other mouse studies, and indicates the importance of developing robust models that do not contain additional replication capable viruses.

Given the absence of direct human cell transmission of PERV, these work supports the potential safety of using pigs as source animals for transplantation to humans.
-end-
TITLE: Mouse retrovirus mediates porcine endogenous retrovirus transmission into human cells in long-term human-porcine chimeric mice

AUTHOR CONTACT:
Yong-Guang Yang
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, 13th Street, Boston, MA 02129, USA Phone: 617-726-6959; Fax: 617-724-9892; E-mail: yongguang.yang@tbrc.mgh.harvard.edu

View the PDF of this article at: http://www.jci.org/cgi/content/full/114/5/695

JCI Journals

Related Transplantation Articles from Brightsurf:

A revolutionary new treatment alternative to corneal transplantation
A new approach in ophthalmology that offers a revolutionary alternative to corneal transplantation has just been developed by researchers and clinicians in North America, Europe, and Oceania.

Fewer complications after organ transplantation
A large international study coordinated by University Hospital Regensburg and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin has demonstrated the safety of new cell therapy approaches for use in kidney transplant recipients.

Elderly patients also benefit from kidney transplantation
So far, kidney transplantation has generally not been offered to elderly patients (>75 years) because of the perioperative risks.

New material will allow abandoning bone marrow transplantation
Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology 'MISIS' developed nanomaterial, which will be able to restore the internal structure of bones damaged due to osteoporosis and osteomyelitis.

Fewer medical tests -- timely listing for transplantation
Younger patients would benefit greatly from kidney transplantation. Their expected remaining lifetime may even be doubled by having a transplant.

Uterus transplantation -- ethically just as problematic as altruistic surrogacy
In 2014, the first child to have been gestated in a donated uterus was born.

Advancing transplantation: Hepatitis C-infected organs safe for transplantation when followed by antiviral treatment
Twenty patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease, according to a study published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Transplantation followed by antiviral therapy cured hepatitis C
Twenty patients who received kidneys transplanted from hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected donors experienced HCV cure, good quality of life, and excellent renal function at one year.

The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation: 50 years of heart transplantation progress
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the world's first human heart transplant performed at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town by South African surgeon, Christiaan Barnard.

Older donor lungs should be considered for transplantation
With a scarcity of lungs available for transplantation, the use of lungs from donors older than age 60 has been shown to achieve reasonable outcomes and should be considered as a viable option, according to research published online today in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Read More: Transplantation News and Transplantation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.