Onset and progression ofde novodonor-specific anti-human leukocyte antigen antibodies after BK polyomavirus and preemptive immunosuppression reduction

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BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) viremia/nephropathy and reduction in immunosuppression following viremia may increase the risk of alloimmune activation and allograft rejection. This study investigates the impact of BKPyV viremia on de novo donor anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-specific antibodies (dnDSA).

Patients and methods:

All primary renal transplants at East Carolina University from March 1999 to December 2010, with at least 1 post-transplant BKPyV viral load testing, were analyzed. Patients were negative for anti-HLA antibodies to donor antigens (tested via single antigen beads) at transplantation and at first BKPyV testing.


Nineteen of 174 patients (11%) tested positive for BKPyV viremia. Within 24 months of BKPyV viremia detection, 79% of BKPyV-viremic patients developed dnDSA. Only 20% of BKPyV viremia-persistent cases, compared to 86% of BKPyV viremia-resolved cases, developed dnDSA (P = 0.03). Poor allograft survival was evident in BKPyV viremia-persistent patients (60% failure by 2 years post BKPyV diagnosis) and in BKPyV viremia-resolved patients with dnDSA (5-year post BKPyV diagnosis allograft survival of 48%).


Post-transplant BKPyV viremia and preemptive immunosuppression reduction is associated with high rates of dnDSA. When preemptively treating BKPyV viremia, dnDSA should be monitored to prevent allograft consequences.

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