Simian parvovirus infection in cynomolgus monkey heart transplant recipients causes death related to severe anemia

Carsten Schröder, Steffen Pfeiffer, Guosheng Wu, Agnes M. Azimzadeh, Amanda Aber, Richard N. Pierson, M. Gerard O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background. Simian parvovirus (SPV) was first isolated from cynomolgus monkeys. Like human parvovirus B19, this virus has a predilection for erythroid cells. During acute SPV infection, clinical signs are usually mild or inapparent, but severe anemia may occur in immunocompromised animals. We report several cases of symptomatic SPV infection in cynomolgus monkeys following heart transplantation. Methods. Twenty-three consecutive abdominal heterotopic heart transplants were studied. Viremia, measured by dot blot and/or PCR, and SPV-specific antibodies were determined retrospectively. Results. All except one animal were on an immunosuppressive protocol. In all, 48% (11/23) of transplant recipients had viremia with SPV detected at some point after transplant. An additional 22% seroconverted before or after transplant, and were asymptomatic without detectable SPV. Of the 11 acutely viremic animals, five were euthanized because of severe anemia attributed to SPV. The remaining 30% of the transplant recipients did not seroconvert and were asymptomatic. Of seven recipients of donor tissue from seropositive or viremic animals, five became viremic and three died with anemia. No immunosuppressive regimen was implicated in increased susceptibility; the one transplant recipient not treated with immunosuppressive agents died with anemia and acute viremia two weeks after explant of a rejected graft. Conclusion. SPV is an important pathogen in surgically manipulated cynomolgus monkeys, particularly with immune compromise. Once introduced into a colony, clinically silent SPV infection could be readily transmitted within the environment. Transmission and disease occur at high frequency with an organ from a PCR-negative, seropositive donor, suggesting that latent virus can be conveyed by the organ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1170
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006


  • Cynomolgus monkeys
  • Death related severe anemia
  • Heart transplantation
  • Human B19 parvovirus
  • Parvovirus infection


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