BACKGROUND: BK virus (BKV) is a significant cause of nephropathy in kidney transplantation. The goal of this study was to characterize the course and source of BKV in kidney transplant recipients.METHODS: We prospectively collected pre-transplant plasma and urine samples from living and deceased kidney donors and performed BKV PCR and IgG testing on pre-transplant and serially collected post-transplant samples in kidney transplant recipients.RESULTS: Among deceased donors, 8.1%(17/208) had detectable BKV DNA in urine prior to organ procurement. BK viruria was observed in 15.4%(6/39) of living donors and 8.5%(4/47) of deceased donors of recipients at our institution (p=0.50). BKV VP1 sequencing revealed identical virus between donor-recipient pairs to suggest donor transmission of virus. Recipients of BK viruric donors were more likely to develop BK viruria (66.6%vs.7.8%, p<0.001) and viremia (66.6%vs.8.9%, p<0.001) with a shorter time to onset (log-rank, p<0.001). Though donor BKV IgG titers were higher in recipients who developed BK viremia, pre-transplant donor, recipient, and combined donor/recipient serology status was not associated with BK viremia (p=0.31,0.75,0.51,respectively).DISCUSSION: Donor BK viruria is associated with early BK viruria and viremia in kidney transplant recipients. BKV PCR testing of donor urine may be useful in identifying recipients at-risk for BKV complications.
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