Background: Chronic red cell aplasia can develop in immunocompromised patients including transplant recipients infected with parvovirus B19 (PV B19). Renal involvement with PV B19 infection is not well-recognized.
Methods: We diagnosed erythroid hypoplasia associated with PV B19 infection in three renal transplant recipients; one of them developed de novo collapsing glomerulopathy. These patients were treated with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).
Results: In two patients, anemia responded promptly to IVIG therapy. One of them had recurrence of anemia that responded to a second course of IVIG. Despite IVIG treatment, persistent infection with PV B19, recurrent anemia, and de novo collapsing glomerulopathy leading to allograft failure developed in the third patient, who had received the most intense immunosuppression.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that PV B19 infection in transplant recipients can cause chronic red cell aplasia that generally responds to IVIG therapy. In some patients, particularly those who are heavily immunosuppressed, infection may persist despite treatment. As the cellular receptor for PV B19 is expressed in the kidney, persistent infection may result in development of glomerulopathies in these patients.