Parvovirus B19 in the Context of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: Evaluating Cell Donors and Recipients

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Parvovirus B19 (B19V) is a common human pathogen, member of the family Parvoviridae. Typically, B19V has been found to infect erythroid progenitors and cause hematological disorders, such as anemia and aplastic crisis. However, the persistence of genomic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) has been demonstrated in tonsils, liver, skin, brain, synovial, and testicular tissues as well as bone marrow, for both symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects. Although the molecular and cellular mechanisms of persistence remain undefined, it raises questions about potential virus transmissibility and its effects in the context of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) recipients.


With this aim, we retrospectively screened allogeneic stem cell donors from 173 patients admitted for allo-HSCT from January 2008 to May 2013 using a seminested polymerase chain reaction approach.


We found 8 positive donor samples, yielding a 4.6% of parvovirus prevalence (95% confidence interval, 2.36-8.85). Pre- and post-HSCT samples (n = 51) from the 8 recipients of the positive donors were also investigated, and 1 case exhibited B19V DNA in the post-HSCT follow-up (D + 60). Direct DNA sequencing was performed to determine the genotype of isolates and classification, performed by phylogenetic reconstruction, showed a predominance of genotype 1a, whereas the rare genotype 3b was detected in 2 additional patients. By molecular cloning, different B19V 1a substrains polymorphisms were evidenced in the single case in which donor and its recipient were B19V+.


Our results suggest that HSCT allografts are not a main source for B19V transmission, pointing to potential events of reinfection or endogenous viral reactivation.

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