Objective: To assess the frequency of shedding of polyomavirus JC virus (JCV) genotypes in urine of HIV-infected patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
Methods: Single samples of urine and blood were collected prospectively from 70 adult HIV-infected patients and 68 uninfected volunteers. Inclusion criteria for HIV-infected patients included an HIV RNA viral load < 1000 copies, CD4 cell count of 200-700 x 106 cells/l, and stable HAART regimen. PCR assays and sequence analysis were carried out using JCV-specific primers against different regions of the virus genome.
Results: JCV excretion in urine was more common in HIV-positive patients but not significantly different from that of the HIV-negative group [22/70 (31%) versus 13/68 (19%); P = 0.09]. HIV-positive patients lost the age-related pattern of JCV shedding (P = 0.13) displayed by uninfected subjects (P = 0.01). Among HIV-infected patients significant differences in JCV shedding were related to CD4 cell counts (P = 0.03). Sequence analysis of the JCV regulatory region from both HIV-infected patients and uninfected volunteers revealed all to be JCV archetypal strains. JCV genotypes 1 (36%) and 4 (36%) were the most common among HIV-infected patients, whereas type 2 (77%) was the most frequently detected among HIV-uninfected volunteers.
Conclusion: These results suggest that JCV shedding is enhanced by modest depressions in immune function during HIV infection. JCV shedding occurred in younger HIV-positive persons than in the healthy controls. As the common types of JCV excreted varied among ethnic groups, JCV genotypes associated with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy may reflect demographics of those infected patient populations.