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J Virol. 2000 Aug;74(16):7687-90.

Infection of nonhuman primate cells by pig endogenous retrovirus.

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  • 1Max von Pettenkofer Institute, Department of Virology, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany.


The ongoing shortage of human donor organs for transplantation has catalyzed new interest in the application of pig organs (xenotransplantation). One of the biggest concerns about the transplantation of porcine grafts into humans is the transmission of pig endogenous retroviruses (PERV) to the recipients or even to other members of the community. Although nonhuman primate models are excellently suited to mimic clinical xenotransplantation settings, their value for risk assessment of PERV transmission at xenotransplantation is questionable since all of the primate cell lines tested so far have been found to be nonpermissive for PERV infection. Here we demonstrate that human, gorilla, and Papio hamadryas primary skin fibroblasts and also baboon B-cell lines are permissive for PERV infection. This suggests that a reevaluation of the suitability of the baboon model for risk assessment in xenotransplantation is critical at this point.

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