A Mouse Model for Polyomavirus-Associated Nephropathy of Kidney Transplants

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Polyomavirus-associated nephropathy is an important cause of dysfunction and failure of renal transplants. BK virus is an ubiquitous human polyoma virus that persistently infects the kidney. This otherwise silent infection can reactivate in immunosuppressed individuals, resulting in renal complications. Because polyoma viruses are highly species-specific, we developed a mouse polyoma virus-renal transplant model in order to investigate the pathogenesis of polyomavirus-associated nephropathy. Using this model, we found that polyoma virus preferentially replicates in the allogeneic kidney grafts, accelerating graft failure; thus, this animal model is able to mimic the polyomavirus-associated nephropathy seen in human renal transplant patients. Acute polyoma virus infection of mouse allograft recipients augmented the alloreactive CD8+ T-cell response, while maintaining the anti-viral CD8+ T-cell response. In addition to the known virus-induced cytopathology, these findings demonstrate a potential role for an enhanced anti-donor T-cell response in the pathogenesis of polyomavirus-associated nephropathy.

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