BACKGROUND: The presence of porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV) has been considered as one of the main hurdles to transplant pig's organs or tissues to human beings. There has been no report that PERV infection is associated with human diseases. Because pigs have their own characteristics of PERV according to pig strain, it is necessary to analyze the infectivity of PERV from SNU miniature pig to human cells for future utilization as a transplantation donor. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Human cell lines were infected with culture supernatant from porcine cell line or immunomodulator-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of SNU miniature pigs. They were also co-cultured with PBMC or islet cells of SNU miniature pigs. The presence of PERV genes and general pig marker gene in cells was determined by nested PCR with primer set for PERV pol and pig mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase II (COII), respectively. RESULTS: Infection test with the culture supernatant from PBMC of SNU miniature pigs showed that PERV pol but not COII was detected only in a few cases, but there was no uniform infection pattern in scope of stimulators and cell types. PERV pol was not demonstrated in co-cultures of human cell line with PBMC or islet cells from SNU miniature pigs after 80 days of co-cultures. CONCLUSIONS: In vitro infectivity test suggests that PERV from SNU miniature pig might not replicate productively in human cell lines although it could infect human cells and integrate into chromosome.