Longitudinal study of BK Polyomavirus outcomes, risk factors, and kinetics in renal transplantation patients

Brandon Dow Chan, Gabriella Wong, Qing Jiang, Magnolia Muk Lan Lee, Wing Yan Wong, Feifei Chen, Wing Tak Wong*, Lixing Zhu*, Francis Kim Ming Wong*, William C S Tai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In the immunocompromised conditions following renal transplantation, BK virus can reactivate and cause BK virus associated nephropathy (BKVN). Increased BK viral loads and extended duration of infection have been linked to development of BKVN. The aim of this study was to observe the incidence of BKV infection and BKVN, and kinetics of infection and disease in renal transplantation recipients. Methods: From 2014 to 2018, we conducted a longitudinal cohort observational study of 139 renal transplantation patients treated at a single clinic. Quantitative PCR assay was conducted to assess longitudinal BK viral loads. Analysis of patient clinical characteristics was performed to determine risk factors for BKV infection and associated disease. Results: Of our cohort, 29 (20.9%) patients developed high BK viremia, and 7 (5.0%) developed biopsy-confirmed BKVN. Clinical parameters associated with diabetes (FBS, HbA1c) and hyperlipidemia (TG, TC, LDL-C) were found to be correlated with development of high BK viremia or BKVN. In 3 of 4 patients receiving intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment, BK viral loads were reduced by at least 1 log within 2–3 months of administration. Significant differences were measured in BK viral loads and kidney function between BK viremic patients and BKVN patients by 3–9 months post-transplantation. Conclusions: We identified diabetes and hyperlipidemia as potential risk factors for development of high BK viremia and/or BKVN. IVIG was seen to be effective in reducing viral titers. The period 3–9 months post-transplantation was identified as important for development of BKVN from high BK viremia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104036
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases

User-Defined Keywords

  • BK virus
  • BK virus associated nephropathy
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin
  • Kinetics
  • Risk factors


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