Hepatic Failure After Pig Heart Transplantation Into a Baboon: No Involvement of Porcine Hepatitis E Virus

Ann Transplant. 2016 Jan 7;21:12-6.


Background: After transplantation of pig hearts into baboons, a particularly high increase of liver parameters was observed in 1 animal. To evaluate whether porcine hepatitis E virus (HEV) was involved in the pathological changes, the donor pig and the recipient baboon were screened for the presence of HEV.

Material and methods: Screening for HEV was performed using highly sensitive and specific PCR methods as well as immunological screening for HEV-specific antibodies.

Results: HEV was not detected in the donor pig or the baboon recipient. At necropsy, histopathological examination of liver sections showed acute coagulative necrosis of hepatocytes and hemorrhage, but minimal inflammatory cell activity.

Conclusions: The liver failure observed in the recipient animal was not due to transmission of porcine HEV. Liver failure could have been caused by the onset of cardiac failure related to delayed transplant rejection.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Hepatitis E virus / isolation & purification*
  • Liver Failure / etiology*
  • Liver Failure / virology
  • Male
  • Papio
  • Postoperative Complications* / virology
  • Swine
  • Transplantation, Heterologous*