Investigation of human urine for genomic sequences of the primate polyomaviruses simian virus 40, BK virus, and JC virus

J Infect Dis. 1997 Dec;176(6):1618-21. doi: 10.1086/517340.


Recent reports of the detection of simian virus 40 (SV40) nucleotide sequences in ependymomas, choroid plexus tumors, osteosarcomas, and mesotheliomas have raised the possibility that SV40, which naturally infects Asian macaques, is circulating among humans. This possibility was examined by performing polymerase chain reaction assays on urine samples of 166 homosexual men, 88 of them human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seropositive, for genomic sequences of SV40 as well as of human polyomaviruses BK virus (BKV) and JC virus (JCV). Tests with masked urine specimens spiked with SV40-transformed cells were included to monitor the SV40 assay. SV40, BKV, and JCV sequences were identified, respectively, in 0, 14%, and 34% of the urine specimens. JCV viruria was far more common (37%) than BKV viruria (5%) in HIV-seronegative persons. HIV infection and more severe immunosuppression were associated with a higher frequency of BKV viruria. In summary, SV40 viruria was not detected among homosexual men who shed human polyomaviruses at a high frequency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / virology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • BK Virus / genetics
  • BK Virus / isolation & purification
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • DNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Genome, Viral
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • JC Virus / genetics
  • JC Virus / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomavirus Infections / urine
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology*
  • Polyomavirus / genetics
  • Polyomavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Simian virus 40 / genetics
  • Simian virus 40 / isolation & purification
  • Tumor Virus Infections / urine
  • Tumor Virus Infections / virology*
  • Urine / virology*
  • Virus Shedding


  • DNA, Viral