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J Med Virol. 2013 Feb;85(2):327-35. doi: 10.1002/jmv.23472. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Longitudinal study of seroprevalence and serostability of the human polyomaviruses JCV and BKV in organ transplant recipients.

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Department of Population Health, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia.


The human polyomaviruses BKV and JCV cause mostly subclinical infections in childhood. Systemical immunosuppression after organ transplantation can lead to reactivation of persistent polyomavirus infections which may cause rejection of the transplanted organ. BKV and JCV seroprevalence and serostability was measured in 441 European solid organ transplanted recipients. Baseline samples were collected on average 24 days post-transplantation and sera were then collected over an 18 months follow-up period on up to six different time points. The overall seroprevalence at baseline for BKV was 97% with very little change over time. Prevalence for JCV was 76% at baseline and increased to 80% at the end of follow-up. BKV seroprevalence was highest in the youngest age group (100%) and decreased with increasing age (92% in the oldest age group; P < 0.0001), while JCV increased with age (69% vs. 81%; P = 0.020). Antibody reactivities for both BKV and JCV increased significantly with time (P = 0.0002 and P < 0.0001, respectively). Among the 406 patients with several samples, 94% were stably seropositive for BKV and 1% remained seronegative during the follow-up. JCV antibody stability was somewhat lower: 67% remained stably seropositive and 13% seronegative. While seroprevalence of BKV and JCV decrease and increase with age, respectively, both polyomaviruses showed significant increasing antibody reactivity over time in organ transplanted recipients at the onset of immunosuppression.

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