Immunoglobulin g, a, and m responses to bk virus in renal transplantation


Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2006 Sep;13(9):1057-63

Randhawa PS, Gupta G, Vats A, Shapiro R, Viscidi RP

Department of Pathology, Division of Transplant Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, E 737 UPMC-Montefiore Hospital, 3459 Fifth Ave., PA 15213, USA. [email protected]


Immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgA, and IgM antibodies were measured in serum samples from 71 organ donors, 81 kidney transplant recipients at transplantation, and 67 patients during the posttransplant period by using a virus-like particle-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). BK virus (BKV) and JC virus DNA were detected in urine and plasma by real-time PCR. IgG antibodies to BKV were demonstrated in the majority (80.3 to 100%) of patients irrespective of clinical category, but titers were highest in patients with active viral replication. IgA antibodies were present with greater frequency (72.7 to 81.3% versus 0 to 23.6%; P<0.001) and higher titer (mean optical density, 0.11 to 0.15 versus 0.05 to 0.08; P< 0.001) in patients who were BKV DNA positive than those who were BKV DNA negative. IgM antibodies showed a similar pattern of reactivity but lower frequency in the setting of active viral replication (9.1 to 43.7% versus 0 to 1.4%; P <0.001). A rise in IgG level of >0.577 optical density (OD) units or a rise in IgA or IgM level of >0.041 OD units was strongly associated with active viral replication. Urine viral load showed a positive correlation with IgM titer(r = 0.22) but a negative correlation with IgG titer (r = 0.28) and IgA titer (r = -0.1). Chronic dialysis patients typically did not have serologic or virologic evidence of active BKV infection. Anti-BKV titers did not rise in patients with JC viruria. In conclusion, measurements of anti-BKV antibody titer and class response can be used to detect the onset of viral replication. ELISAs can be quite specific despite considerable sequence homology between BK virus and JC virus.