BK Virus Infection and BK-Virus-Associated Nephropathy in Renal Transplant Recipients

Genes (Basel). 2022 Jul 21;13(7):1290. doi: 10.3390/genes13071290.


Poliomavirus BK virus (BKV) is highly infective, causing asymptomatic infections during childhood. After the initial infection, a stable state of latent infection is recognized in kidney tubular cells and the uroepithelium with negligible clinical consequences. BKV is an important risk factor for BKV-associated diseases, and, in particular, for BKV-associated nephropathy (BKVN) in renal transplanted recipients (RTRs). BKVN affects up to 10% of renal transplanted recipients, and results in graft loss in up to 50% of those affected. Unfortunately, treatments for BK virus infection are restricted, and there is no efficient prophylaxis. In addition, consequent immunosuppressive therapy reduction contributes to immune rejection. Increasing surveillance and early diagnosis based upon easy and rapid analyses are resulting in more beneficial outcomes. In this report, the current status and perspectives in the diagnosis and treatment of BKV in RTRs are reviewed.

Keywords: BK virus infection; BKV nephropathy; biomarkers; early diagnosis; miRNA; renal transplanted recipients; urine biomarkers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • BK Virus* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Kidney
  • Kidney Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Kidney Diseases* / etiology
  • Kidney Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Polyomavirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Polyomavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Tumor Virus Infections* / diagnosis


  • Immunosuppressive Agents

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.