Prevalence and risk factors for polyomavirus reactivation in solid-organ transplantation

Preeti Zanwar, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Polyomavirus reactivation is common in solid-organ transplant recipients who are given immunosuppressive medications as standard treatment of care. Previous studies have shown that polyomavirus infection can lead to allograft failure in as many as 45% of the affected patients. Hypothesis. Ubiquitous polyomaviruses when reactivated by post-transplant immunosuppressive medications may lead to impaired renal function and possibly lower survival prospects. Study Overview. Secondary analysis of data was conducted on a prospective longitudinal study of subjects who were at least 18 years of age and were recipients of liver and/or kidney transplant at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Arizona. Methods. DNA extractions of blinded urine and blood specimens of transplant patients collected at Mayo Clinic during routine transplant patient visits were performed at Baylor College of Medicine using Qiagen kits. Virologic assays included testing DNA samples for specific polyomavirus sequences using QPCR technology. De-identified demographic and clinical patient data were merged with laboratory data and statistical analysis was performed using Stata10. Results. 76 patients enrolled in the study were followed for 3.9 years post transplantation. The prevalence of BK virus and JC virus urinary excretion was 30% and 28%. Significant association was observed between JC virus excretion and kidney as the transplanted organ (P = 0.039, Pearson Chi-square test). The median urinary JCV viral loads were two logs higher than those of BKV. Patients that excreted both BKV and JCV appeared to have the worst renal function with a mean creatinine clearance value of 71.6 millimeters per minute. A survival disadvantage was observed for dual shedders of BKV and JCV, log-rank statistics, p = 0.09; 2/5 dual-shedders expired during the study period. Liver transplant and male sex were determined to be potential risk factors for JC virus activation in renal and liver transplant recipients. All patients tested negative for SV40 and no association was observed between polyomavirus excretion and type of immunosuppressive medication (tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, cyclosporine and sirolimus). Conclusions. Polyomavirus reactivation was common after solid-organ transplantation and may be associated with impaired renal function. Male sex and JCV infection may be potential risk factors for viral reactivation; findings should be confirmed in larger studies.

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Recommended Citation

Zanwar, Preeti, "Prevalence and risk factors for polyomavirus reactivation in solid-organ transplantation" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467395.