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Different patterns of BK and JC polyomavirus reactivation following renal transplantation
  1. Baljit K Saundh1,2,
  2. Stephen Tibble1,
  3. Richard Baker1,
  4. Kestutis Sasnauskas3,
  5. Mark Harris2,
  6. Antony Hale1
  1. 1Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Microbiology and Renal Unit, Leeds, UK
  2. 2Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  3. 3Institute of Biotechnology, Vilnius, Lithuania
  1. Correspondence to Baljit K Saundh, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Microbiology and Renal Unit, Microbiology Department, Old Medical School, Thoresby Place, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK; baljit.saundh{at}


Aim Reactivation of latent BK polyomavirus (BKV) infection is relatively common following renal transplantation and BKV-associated nephropathy has emerged as a significant complication. JC polyomavirus (JCV) reactivation is less well studied. The aim of the study was to determine reactivation patterns for these polyomaviruses in renal transplant recipients using an in-house quantitative real-time multiplex PCR assay and IgG serological assays using recombinant BK and JC virus-like particles.

Methods Retrospective analysis of urine and plasma samples collected from 30 renal transplant patients from February 2004 to May 2005 at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Samples were collected at 5 days and thereafter at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months post-transplantation.

Results Eight patients (26.7%) were positive for BK viruria; three of these patients submitted plasma samples and two had BK viraemia. Five patients (16.7%) were positive for JC viruria. A corresponding rise in BKV and JCV antibody titres was seen in association with high levels of viruria.

Conclusions Different patterns of reactivation were observed: BK viruria was detected after 3–6 months, and JC viruria was observed as early as 5 days post-transplantation. One patient had biopsy-proven BKV nephropathy. No dual infections were seen. In order to ensure better graft survival, early diagnosis of these polyomaviruses is desirable.

  • BK polyomavirus
  • EIA
  • haemagglutination inhibition
  • JC polyomavirus
  • kidney
  • polyomavirus-associated nephropathy
  • real-time PCR
  • virus

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  • Funding St James’s University Hospital Renal Transplant research fund.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Leeds (East) Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.