Send to

Choose Destination
Transplantation. 2009 Nov 15;88(9):1109-16. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181ba0e17.

Urinary proinflammatory cytokine response in renal transplant recipients with polyomavirus BK viruria.

Author information

Department of Transplantation Immunology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.



Polyomavirus BK (BKV) has emerged as an important complication after kidney transplantation. BKV-associated nephropathy develops in approximately 5% to 8% of renal transplant recipients, and its prognosis is poor. The relationship between urine cytokines and BK viruria in kidney recipients has not been defined.


We compared posttransplant urine cytokine levels of 65 renal transplant outpatients with (BK-positive) or without BK viruria (BK-negative, n=33), low- (n=16) or high-level (n=16) BK viral load (VL), and 24 healthy controls (HCs). Soluble interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (sIL-1RA), interleukin (IL)-2, sIL-2R, IL-3, IL-4, IL-6, sIL-6R, IL-10, IL-17, transforming growth factor-beta2, interferon-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels were determined using commercially available ELISA kits.


BK-positive patients showed higher urine IL-3 (P=0.006), sIL-6R (P=0.010), IL-6 (P=0.020), and sIL-1RA (P=0.050) than BK-negative patients. Compared with HCs, BK-negative patients had lower urine sIL-1RA (P=0.003), sIL-6R (P=0.001), and IL-17 (P<0.001), whereas BK-positive patients had higher urine IL-3 (P=0.004) and IL-6 (P=0.001) and lower IL-17 (P<0.001), suggesting cytokine suppression by immunosuppression and upregulation by BK-infection. Urine sIL-6R (P=0.003) and IL-6 (P=0.010) were higher in patients with high VL than in patients with low VL. Additionally, patients with high VL showed higher urine IL-6 (P=0.001), sIL-6R (P=0.001), sIL-1RA (P=0.016), and IL-3 (P=0.047) than BK-negative patients, and higher urine IL-6 (P<0.001) and lower IL-17 (P<0.001) than HCs.


BK-positive renal transplant recipients, especially those with high VL, showed strong inflammatory cytokine responses with increases of urine sIL-1RA, IL-3, IL-6, and sIL-6R. Our data suggest that monocyte- and Th-2-induced cytokines are involved in the pathogenesis of BKV-associated nephropathy.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center