Porcine cytomegalovirus infection is associated with early rejection of kidney grafts in a pig to baboon xenotransplantation model.

Journal Article


Recent survivals of our pig-to-baboon kidney xenotransplants have been markedly shorter than the graft survivals we previously reported. The discovery of high levels of porcine cytomegalovirus (pCMV) in one of the rejected xenografts led us to evaluate whether this reduction in graft survival might be because of the inadvertent introduction of pCMV into our α1,3-galactosyltransferase gene knockout swine herd.


Archived frozen sections of xeno-kidney grafts over the past 10 years were analyzed for the presence of pCMV, using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Three prospective pig-to-baboon renal transplants using kidneys from swine delivered by cesarean section (C-section) and raised in isolation were likewise analyzed.


Kidney grafts, from which 8 of the 18 archived samples were derived were found to be pCMV-negative, showed a mean graft survival of 48.3 days and were from transplants performed before 2008. None showed signs of disseminated intravascular coagulopathy and were lost because of proteinuria or infectious complications. In contrast, 10 of the archived samples were pCMV positive, were from kidney transplants with a mean graft survival of 14.1 days, had been performed after 2008, and demonstrated early vascular changes and decreased platelet counts. Three prospective xenografts from swine delivered by C-section were pCMV negative and survived an average of 53.0 days.


Decreased survivals of α1,3-galactosyltransferase gene knockout renal xenografts in this laboratory correlate temporally with latent pCMV in the donor animals and pCMV in the rejected xeno-kidneys. Transmission of pCMV to swine offspring may be avoided by C-section delivery and scrupulous isolation of donor animals.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yamada, K; Tasaki, M; Sekijima, M; Wilkinson, RA; Villani, V; Moran, SG; Cormack, TA; Hanekamp, IM; Hawley, RJ; Arn, JS; Fishman, JA; Shimizu, A; Sachs, DH

Published Date

  • August 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 98 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 411 - 418

PubMed ID

  • 25243511

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25243511

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1534-6080

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0041-1337

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/tp.0000000000000232


  • eng