Tubulo-interstitial nephritis associated with polyomavirus (BK type) infection

N Engl J Med. 1983 May 19;308(20):1192-6. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198305193082004.


We studied viral injury to the kidney in a six-year-old boy with hyperimmunoglobulin M immunodeficiency who presented with irreversible acute renal failure and eventually died after five months of dialysis. Renal biopsy at the time of his presentation revealed a predominantly tubulo-interstitial process with numerous viral inclusions that were identified as polyomavirus. Urine cultures showed a massive viruria with BK-type, polyomavirus. The kidney disease was end stage, with persistence of BK virus identified by morphologic techniques and by culture. DNA hybridization analysis showed virus in low concentration in the lymph nodes, spleen, and lungs. The marked viruria, the high concentration of BK virus, and the extensive distribution of viral antigen throughout the kidney all suggest that infection with BK virus was the basis of the severe renal parenchymal injury.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Child
  • DNA
  • Dysgammaglobulinemia / congenital
  • Humans
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia / complications
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / complications
  • Kidney / microbiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Male
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / etiology*
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / microbiology
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Polyomavirus / immunology
  • Polyomavirus / isolation & purification
  • Tumor Virus Infections / complications*
  • Urine / microbiology


  • Immunoglobulin M
  • DNA