Polyomavirus DNA and RNA Detection in Renal Allograft Biopsies: Results from a European Multicenter Study

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Polyomavirus mediated nephropathy is an increasingly recognized complication in renal transplant recipients. In all, 362 renal biopsies collected from 15 European transplant centers were analyzed for presence of Polyomavirus nucleic acid (BK virus [BKV] and JC virus [JCV]). We evaluated 302 biopsies of patients with renal allograft dysfunction, including three with known BKV allograft nephropathy (BKVAN), and 60 native kidney biopsies. BKV DNA was detected in 8 of the 302 (2.6 %) biopsies obtained for transplant dysfunction, but in none of the controls. BKV RNA, indicating active viral replication, was found in all BKV DNA positive biopsies available for mRNA expression studies. Retrospective immunohistochemical staining was positive for SV40 large T antigen in all seven evaluated biopsies. BKV DNA and RNA were detected in biopsy tissues from patients with inconspicuous light microscopy for BKVAN. Further studies will evaluate the potential of intrarenal viral BKV RNA as an early predictor for BKVAN.

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