Cell and Tissue Banking

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 447–452 | Cite as

Comparative infectious serology testing of pre- and post-mortem blood samples from cornea donors

  • I. WilkemeyerEmail author
  • A. Pruss
  • U. Kalus
  • J. Schroeter
Original Paper


Defined serological blood tests of deceased cornea donors are required to minimize the risk of viral infections of a transplant recipient as much as possible. Haemolysis, autolysis and bacterial contamination, may produce significant changes of post-mortem blood samples, which may lead to false serological test results. Pre- and post-mortem findings from the same cornea donors of the University Tissue Bank of the Charité in the years 2004–2009 (n = 487) were retrospectively analyzed and compared. The test results from pre-mortem blood samples were defined as the reference for the post-mortem blood test. Of 487 cornea donors, there were a total of 21 cases (4.3 %) with discrepancies between serological test results from pre- and post-mortem blood samples. Of these, 7 values referred to the HBsAg-testing, 3 to the anti-HBs-, 1 to the anti-HBcIgG + IgM-, 1 to the anti-HCV-, 4 to the anti-HIV 1/2- and 5 to the TPLA-findings. False negative results within post-mortem serology occurred in 4 of 487 cases (0.8 %). False positive results within the post-mortem blood samples occurred at a much more frequent rate, with 17 of 487 cases (3.5 %). Discrepancies between serological pre- and post-mortem blood tests occur mainly due to the use of non-validated test systems. Therefore, it seems reasonable to test pre- and post-mortem blood samples serologically, whenever possible, at the same time, regardless of the sample age. Positive results, regardless of the sample type, should always be retested with validated confirmation tests (e.g. NAT), in order to differentiate between false and true positive results.


Cornea donor Serology Post-mortem blood sample 



The authors thank Susanne Katz and colleagues of the Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry of the Charité for technical assistance and the retrospective listing of all relevant blood findings for the study. The authors thank Karin Jakstadt and Lutz Schmidt of the Institute of Transfusion Medicine of the Charité for technical assistance in the implementation of the experiments.


  1. Challine D, Roudot-Thoraval F, Sabatier P, Dubernet F, Larderie P, Rigot P, Pawlotsky JM (2006) Serological viral testing of cadaveric cornea donors. Transplantation 82(6):788–793PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Edler C, Wulff B, Schroeder AS, Wilkemeyer I, Polywka S, Meyer T, Kalus U, Pruss A (2011) A prospective time course study on serological testing for human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus with blood samples taken up to 48 hours after death. J Med Microbiol 60(7):920–926PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. European Union (2004) Directive 2004/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the council of 31 March 2004 on setting standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells. Off J Eur Union 102:48–58Google Scholar
  4. European Union (2006) Commission Directive 2006/17/EC of 8 February 2006 implementing Directive 2004/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the council as regards certain technical requirements for the donation, procurement and testing of human tissues and cells. Off J Eur Union 38:40–52Google Scholar
  5. Federal Ministry of Justice (2008) TPG-Gewebeverordnung (TPG-GewV) [Regulation on quality and safety requirements regarding tissue removal and transplantation according to the German transplant law] BGB1 I:512Google Scholar
  6. Heim A, Wagner D, Rothämel T et al (1999) Evaluation of serological screening of cadaveric sera for donor selection for cornea transplantation. J Med Virol 58(3):291–295PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kalus U, Wilkemeyer I, Caspari G, Schroeter J, Pruss A (2011) Validation of the serological testing for anti-HIV-1/2, anti-HCV, HBsAg and anti-HBc from post-mortem blood on the Siemens-BEP-III automatic system. Transfus Med Hemother 38(6):365–372PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Karhunen PJ, Brummer-Korvenkontio H, Leinikki P, Nyberg M (1994) Stability of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibodies in post-mortem samples. J Forensic Sci (JFSCA) 39(1):129–135Google Scholar
  9. Pepose JS, MacRae S, Quinn TC, Ward JW (1987) Serologic markers after the transplantation of corneas from donors infected with human immunodeficiency virus. Am J Ophtalmol 103:798–801Google Scholar
  10. Pepose JS, Buerger DG, Paul DA, Quinn TC, Darragh TM, Donegan E (1992) New developments in serologic screening of donors for corneal HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus infections. Ophthalmology 99:879–888PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Wilkemeyer
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Pruss
    • 1
  • U. Kalus
    • 1
  • J. Schroeter
    • 1
  1. 1.University Tissue Bank, Institute of Transfusion Medicine, CC14Charité-Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations