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J Med Virol. 1999 Jun;58(2):182-7.

Quantity of human cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNAemia as a risk factor for CMV disease in renal allograft recipients: relationship with donor/recipient CMV serostatus, receipt of augmented methylprednisolone and antithymocyte globulin (ATG).

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Department of Virology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, England.


A prospective longitudinal study of 87 renal allograft recipients identified 31 patients with cytomegalovirus (CMV) viraemia. Previous studies have identified CMV viraemia, donor positivity, and CMV load in urine as independent risk factors for disease following renal transpl antation. We used quantitative-competitive polymerase chain reaction (QC-PCR) to quantify the CMV DNA load in blood from these patients, and report that it is a significant and independent risk factor for CMV disease. Patients with symptomatic CMV infection had significantly higher maximum CMV loads than those with no disease (P = .0003). We also found that peak loads were significantly higher in individuals experiencing primary CMV infection (P < .01), and CMV re-infection (P < .05) compared with recipients reactivating endogenous CMV. Univariate analysis revealed that CMV DNA load in blood, donor seropositivity, and receipt of antithymocyte globulin (ATG) were all significantly associated with disease (P = .005, .04, and .05, respectively). However, the association of donor/recipient serostatus, and receipt of ATG became nonsignificant in multivariate analyses whereas the significance of the quantity of CMV DNAemia was maintained, illustrating that CMV load plays a central role in the pathogenesis of CMV disease.

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