Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes, determined by polymerase chain reaction with type-specific primers, were studied in 5 already HCV-infected patients receiving kidneys from HCV-infected cadaver donors. Three patients were investigated retrospectively using stored pre- and posttransplantation sera and followed 18-28 months after transplantation. Two recipients with HCV genotype 2b infection had received kidneys from 1 genotype 3a-infected donor. In 1 recipient, HCV 2b was replaced by the donor's type; in the other recipient, a prolonged mixed infection of 3a and 2b occurred. Persistent alanine aminotransferase (ALT) elevation (3- to 5-fold) appeared in both patients. The third patient, also HCV 2b infected when transplanted with an HCV 3a-infected kidney, remained infected with HCV 2b only. Two patients, one with HCV genotype 1b and the other with genotype 3a, were followed prospectively with frequent bleeds (initially biweekly) and genotyping over 14 months after they had received kidneys from 1 HCV genotype 1a-infected donor. The HCV 1b-infected recipient remained infected with 1b only and had minimal biochemical signs of liver injury. In the other recipient, mixed infection of 3a and 1a appeared at week 3 and persisted for several weeks, until only genotype 1a could be detected. This patient had elevated ALT levels before transplantation. After onset of mixed infection, ALT levels increased further for several weeks, and returned to pretransplantation levels when only HCV 1a was found. HCV-infected kidneys transplanted into HCV-infected recipients gave 3 different virus patterns. Most patients benefitted in the short term, but some super-infected patients experienced increased liver damage.