The genetic predisposition of natural killer cell to BK virus–associated nephropathy in renal transplant patients

BK virus (BKV) infection represents a serious complication in renal transplant patients resulting in BKV-associated nephropathy and subsequent allograft loss. Natural killer cells are crucial in the antiviral immune response; however, an understanding of the role of natural killer cells in protection against BKV is limited. To elucidate whether killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors and their interaction between donor-/recipient-related ligands have a role in BKV infection, we performed genotyping analysis in 48 kidney transplant recipients with a history of severe BKV infection/BKV-associated nephropathy and 110 recipients with stable renal function and no BKV reactivation.

Of interest, we found that telomeric gene content motif was significantly associated with severe course of BKV infection/BKV-associated nephropathy and detected significantly higher percentage of patients with BKV-associated nephropathy carrying low numbers of activating receptors compared with the control group. Detailed analysis of each single receptor revealed significantly lower frequencies of the activating receptor KIR3DS1 in patients with BKV infection/nephropathy as compared with the controls. Thus, our study supports protective effects of activating receptors in BKV infection and suggest natural killer-cell–related genetic predisposition to the development of BKV-associated nephropathy.


Authors: Hanna Trydzenskaya, Karsten Juerchott, Nils Lachmann, Katja Kotsch, Kristina Kunert, Benjamin Weist, Constanze Sch?nemann, Ralf Schindler, Peter Nickel, Matthias F Melzig, Christian Hugo, Oliver Thomusch, Avidan U Neumann, Petra Reinke and Nina Babel

Reference: Kidney International (2013) 84, 359–365; doi:10.1038/ki.2013.59; published online 13 March 2013:

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