Investigations into the use of baboons as organ donors for human transplant recipients, a procedure called xenotransplantation, have raised the specter of transmitting baboon viruses to humans and possibly establishing new human infectious diseases. Retrospective analysis of tissues from two human transplant recipients with end-stage hepatic disease who died 70 and 27 days after the transplantation of baboon livers revealed the presence of two simian retroviruses of baboon origin, simian foamy virus (SFV) and baboon endogenous virus (BaEV), in multiple tissue compartments. The presence of baboon mitochondrial DNA was also detected in these same tissues, suggesting that xenogeneic 'passenger leukocytes' harboring latent or active viral infections had migrated from the xenografts to distant sites within the human recipients. The persistence of SFV and BaEV in human recipients throughout the posttransplant period underscores the potential infectious risks associated with xenotransplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases