Background: Reactivation of polyomavirus is a known reason for severe renal dysfunction in adult renal transplant recipients. Testing for polyomavirus DNA in plasma has been described as a sensitive and specific method to discover viral nephropathy in adult patients. We were now interested in polyomavirus status in a pediatric patient setting.
Methods: Plasma and urine samples were obtained from 80 children including 38 children after renal transplantation (group 1), 7 children with different kidney diseases receiving immunosuppressive treatment (group 2) and 35 children with different kidney diseases not receiving immunosuppressive treatment (group 3). A nested polymerase chain reaction method was used for amplification of polyomavirus DNA fragments. Differentiation between JC and BK virus was done by digestion with restriction endonucleases.
Results: Polyomavirus DNA was detected in the urine sample of 19 of 38 (50%) renal transplant recipients (group 1), of 1 of 7 (14%) patients from group 2 and in none of the 35 patients of group 3. Plasma samples from 3 (8%) of group 1 patients and from 1 child each of group 2 (14%) and group 3 (3%) were tested positive for polyomavirus DNA.
Conclusion: Urinary polyomavirus excretion seems to be more frequent in pediatric patients with kidney diseases receiving immunosuppressive treatment and after renal transplantation than in children with various kidney diseases without immunosuppressive treatment.