Impact of donor BK polyomavirus replication on recipient infections in living donor transplantation

Transpl Infect Dis. 2018 Aug;20(4):e12917. doi: 10.1111/tid.12917. Epub 2018 Jun 11.


Background: Multiple risk factors for BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) replication after kidney transplantation have been described. Here, we investigated the impact of living donors' urinary BKPyV shedding and recipients' BKPyV antibody status pre-transplant on BKPyV replication during the first year post-transplantation.

Methods: We assessed a cohort of living kidney donors and their paired recipients (n = 121). All donors were tested before transplantation, and recipients were tested before and after transplantation for BKPyV viruria and viremia. BKPyV-specific serology was assessed in all recipients at transplantation.

Results: Ten of 121 donors (8.3%) had urinary BKPyV shedding pre-transplant, none had viremia. Overall, 33 (27.3%) recipients developed viruria after transplantation: 7 had received a kidney from a donor with BK viruria (7/10 positive donors) and 26 had received a kidney from a donor without BK viruria (26/111 negative donors; P = .0015). Fifteen (12.4%) recipients developed BK viremia after transplantation: 3 received a kidney from a donor with viruria (3/10 positive donors, 30%) and 12 received a kidney from a donor without viruria (12/111 negative donors, 11%; P = .08). One patient developed proven nephropathy. Ninety-one percent of recipients were seropositive for BKPyV. No relationship between recipients' sero-reactivity at transplantation and post-transplant BKPyV replication was observed. Pre-transplant donor urinary shedding was an independent risk factor for post-transplant BKPyV replication.

Conclusion: Screening living kidney donors for BKPyV can identify recipients at higher risk for BKPyV replication after transplantation who may benefit from intensified post-transplant screening and treatment strategies.

Keywords: BKV; living transplantation; predictive factor; serology; viremia; viruria.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allografts / virology
  • BK Virus / isolation & purification*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / epidemiology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Graft Rejection / virology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Incidence
  • Kidney / virology
  • Kidney Diseases / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Polyomavirus Infections / transmission
  • Polyomavirus Infections / urine
  • Polyomavirus Infections / virology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Serologic Tests
  • Transplant Recipients
  • Tumor Virus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / transmission
  • Tumor Virus Infections / urine
  • Tumor Virus Infections / virology


  • DNA, Viral
  • Immunosuppressive Agents