Cadaveric skin allograft-associated cytomegalovirus transmission in a mouse model of thermal injury

Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Makiko Kobayashi, Robert L. McCauley, David N. Herndon, Richard B. Pollard, Fujio Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


As a routine procedure to provide temporary coverage for burn wounds, cadaveric skin allografts have been used in patients with massive thermal injuries. In this study, CMV infection associated with skin grafting was investigated. Graft-associated CMV transmission was shown in a mouse model of thermal injury. Skins from mice 100 days after a nonlethal dose of murine CMV (MCMV) infection contained MCMV DNA and mRNA, although the virus was not isolated from these murine skins. When these skins were grafted to burned mice, the marked growth of MCMV was demonstrated in salivary glands. No viral growth was shown in the salivary glands of unburned mice or CMV sero(+) mice after grafting with these skins. When severe combined immunodeficient beige (SCID-beige) mice were used as recipients for CMV sero(+) skins, all mice died within 30 days after the grafting. Only 1 PFU/mouse of MCMV was shown to be 1 LD50 in SCID-beige mice, while a 50% mortality rate was shown in normal unburned mice infected with 5 x 105 PFU/mouse of MCMV. This indicates that a very small amount of CMV contained in skins is sufficient to induce CMV infection in immunocompromised hosts. On the other hand, human CMV (HCMV) DNA and mRNA were detected by PCR analysis in 55% (DNA) and 33% (mRNA) of cadaveric skins, although the isolation of HCMV from cadaveric skin homogenates was not achieved in tissue cultures. CMV sero(-) patients with severe burn injuries may have a high risk for CMV infection associated with allografts of cadaveric skins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999


  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Skin graft
  • Thermal injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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