Background: Torque teno virus, the major member of the genus Alphatorquevirus , is an emerging biomarker of the net state of immunosuppression after kidney transplantation. Genetic diversity constitutes a main feature of the Anelloviridae family, although its posttransplant dynamics and clinical correlates are largely unknown.
Methods: The relative abundance of Alphatorquevirus , Betatorquevirus , and Gammatorquevirus genera was investigated by high-throughput sequencing in plasma specimens obtained at various points during the first posttransplant year (n = 91 recipients). Total loads of all members of the Anelloviridae family were also quantified by an "in-house" polymerase chain reaction assay targeting conserved DNA sequences (n = 195 recipients). In addition to viral kinetics, clinical study outcomes included serious infection, immunosuppression-related adverse event (opportunistic infection and cancer)' and acute rejection.
Results: Alphatorquevirus DNA was detected in all patients at every point, with an increase from pretransplantation to month 1. A variable proportion of recipients had detectable Betatorquevirus and Gammatorquevirus at lower frequencies. At least 1 change in the predominant genus (mainly as early transition to Alphatorquevirus predominance) was shown in 35.6% of evaluable patients. Total anelloviruses DNA levels increased from baseline to month 1, to peak by month 3 and decrease thereafter, and were higher in patients treated with T-cell depleting agents. There was a significant albeit weak-to-moderate correlation between total anelloviruses and TTV DNA levels. No associations were found between the predominant Anelloviridae genus or total anelloviruses DNA levels and clinical outcomes.
Conclusions: Our study provides novel insight into the evolution of the anellome after kidney transplantation.
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