Association of DNA amplification with progress of BK polyomavirus infection and nephropathy in renal transplant recipients

M. Hasegawa, T. Ito, K. Saigo, N. Akutsu, M. Maruyama, K. Otsuki, H. Aoyama, I. Matsumoto, T. Asano, H. Kitamura, T. Kenmochi

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose BK polyomavirus-associated nephropathy (BKVAN) is an important cause of renal allograft loss. Immunosuppression therapy in renal transplant recipients can lead to the reactivation of latent BK polyomavirus (BKV) infection, leading to BK viruria and viremia. This single-center study aimed to clarify the association between quantitative measurement of BKV DNA and the progression of BKV infection, and secondly to identify the risk factors associated with the evolution of viruria to viremia. Methods We retrospectively analyzed 266 patients who underwent renal transplantation in our center from October 2006 to February 2013. We examined the viral loads of BKV in urine and plasma by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay after screening all of the recipients by urinary sediment examination. BKVAN was diagnosed by histological examination with immunohistochemistry of the large T antigen in biopsy specimens. Results Overall, 22 recipients showed BK viruria alone, whereas 22 progressed to BK viremia, of which 6 patients were diagnosed with BKVAN. Among BKVAN patients, 2 cases progressed to graft loss at 59 months and 31 months after diagnosis, respectively. In BKVAN group, the plasma viral loads were significantly higher than those in viremia without nephropathy (P <.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that the evolution of viruria to viremia was associated with recipient age over 55 years (odds ratio, 32.08; 95% confidence interval, 2.1-489.5) and tacrolimus exposure (odds ratio, 11.98; 95% confidence interval, 1.34-107.04). Conclusions The progression from viremia to BKVAN was strongly associated with increasing plasma viral loads for BKV DNA. The cutoff value of 1 × 104 copies/mL for plasma viral loads could differentiate between BKVAN and viremia alone. Further, recipient age over 55 years and tacrolimus exposure were independently associated with the evolution of viruria to viremia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-559
Number of pages4
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 03-2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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