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Am J Transplant. 2005 Nov;5(11):2719-24.

BK virus-specific antibodies and BKV DNA in renal transplant recipients with BKV nephritis.

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  • 1The Division of Nephrology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.


We evaluated twenty renal transplant subjects at various stages of BKV nephritis (BKVN) for BKV-specific IgG and IgM antibodies using ELISA technique and BKV-DNA using PCR. They were divided as early onset (n = 7), stabilizing (n = 3), resolved (n = 8) and late onset (n = 2) BKVN. BKV-specific antibodies and BKV-DNA were simultaneously determined. The mean BKV-specific IgG level in early onset and stabilizing BKVN were 64 and 39 EIA units, and were significantly lower than 138 EIA units seen in resolved BKVN, P = 0.007, P = 0.008. The mean BKV-specific IgM levels in stabilizing BKVN was higher than resolved BKVN (130 vs 51 EIA units), P = 0.006. Mean plasma BKV loads for each group were 955,925, 5642 and 42 copies/mL of plasma, respectively. Prospective study in six BKVN cases revealed mean IgG, IgM levels and BKV-DNA at the time of diagnosis of BKVN as 39, 110 EIA units and 586,758 copies/mL of plasma, respectively. After a mean period of 5.2 months, IgG level increased to 120 EIA units (p = 0.0058) and had no detectable viral copies in circulation. Recovery from BKVN and elimination of BKV is associated with the development of BKV-specific IgG antibodies and this provides insight into the role of humoral immunity to BKV in the pathogenesis of BKVN.

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