JC Virus and Development of BK Virus in Kidney Transplant Recipients

American Transplant Congress 2020

Researchers at the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China, led by G. Huang, conducted a study to examine the effect of JC [John Cunningham] virus (JCV) on the development and prognosis of BK virus (BKV) infection and polyomavirus nephropathy (PVN) in renal transplant recipients. Results of the study were reported during a virtual poster session at the American Transplant Congress in a poster titled Effect of JC Virus on Polyomavirus Nephropathy in Renal Transplant Recipients.

The study included 196 renal transplant recipients who underwent graft biopsy at the First Affiliated Hospital from May 2017 to December 2018. The patients were divided into a PVN group (n=69) and a non-PVN group (n=127). The researchers compared differences in infection rate and replication of JCV and BKV between the two groups. They also examined the effects of JCV on the pathologic degree of PVN and the relationship between JCV and graft survival rate and function of PVN recipients.

In the PVN group, 100% of cases were infected with BKV, compared with 27.6% in the non-PVN group (P<.001). There were 22 cases (31.9%) infected with JCV in the PVN group compared with 48 cases (37.8%) in the non-PVN group.

In the PVN and non-PVN groups, median level of BKV-DNA in plasma was 4.06´104 and 2.49´103 (P=.014), respectively. BKV-DNA in urine was 1.4´109 and 2.64´106 (P<.001) in the PVN group and non-PVN group, respectively.

The median level of JCV-DNA in urine was 1.3´108 in the PVN group and 2.87´106 (P=.065) in the non-PVN group. In plasma, the median level of JCV-DNA was 2.43´104 in the PVN group and 0 in the non-PVN group (P=.016).

There was no significant correlation between JCV level and scores of main pathologic parameters. The creatinine level in PVN recipients with JCV viremia 1 year after biopsy was significantly higher compared with non-JCV viremia recipients (P=.041).

“JCV plays a positive role in promoting BKV replication among PVN recipients. It is recommended to monitor plasma JCV-DNA in recipients with PVN,” the authors said.

Source: Huang G, Huang Y, Chen X, et al. Effect of JC virus on polyomavirus nephropathy in renal transplant recipients. Abstract of a poster presented at the virtual American Transplant Congress 2020 (Abstract D-181), May 30, 2020.