Transmission of Porcine Circovirus 3 (PCV3) by Xenotransplantation of Pig Hearts into Baboons

Viruses. 2019 Jul 16;11(7):650. doi: 10.3390/v11070650.


Porcine circovirus 3 (PCV3) is a newly described member of the virus family Circoviridae. PCV3 is highly distributed among pigs and wild boars worldwide. A sudden introduction of PCV3 was recently observed in a herd of triple genetically modified pigs generated for xenotransplantation. These animals were used as donor pigs for orthotopic heart transplantation into baboons. In four cases, PCV3-positive hearts were transplanted, and transmission of PCV3 to the recipient was observed. PCV3 was found in all organs of the recipient baboons and a higher virus load was found in animals with a longer survival time of the transplant, indicating replication of the virus. This is the first report showing trans-species transmission of PCV3 to baboons by transplantation of a heart from a PCV3-positive donor pig. Sequence analysis showed that PCV3a and PCV3b were present in the infected pigs and were transmitted. Experiments to infect human 293 cells with PCV3 failed.

Keywords: non-human primates; pigs; porcine circovirus 3 (PCV3); xenotransplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Circoviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Circoviridae Infections / etiology*
  • Circoviridae Infections / transmission*
  • Circovirus* / classification
  • Circovirus* / genetics
  • Heart Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Papio
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / virology
  • Transplantation, Heterologous / adverse effects