BK virus replication in patients with anti-Neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-Associated vasculitis

D. Geetha, S. M. Levine, R. L. Manno, A. Valsamakis, S. Ghazarian, P. Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: BK virus (BKV) is an important cause of renal dysfunction in kidney transplant (KTX) recipients. Immunosuppression intensity is a major risk factor for BKV replication in these patients. The prevalence of BKV replication in immunosuppressed patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) without transplant is not known. Methods: Consecutive patients (n = 37) with a diagnosis of GPA (n = 25) or MPA (n = 12) without history of KTX were evaluated for plasma BKV replication by quantitative PCR (group A). Descriptive data were collected. BKV replication in this nontransplant immunosuppressed vasculitis cohort was compared with a historical cohort of vasculitis KTX recipients (group B). Results: Group A patients had mean disease duration of 75 months. Mean age was 57 years and 54% were female. Mean time from vasculitis onset to BKV testing was 36 months, and 19/37 patients were tested within 24 months of induction therapy. At the time of BKV testing, 73% were on prednisone (P) with azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), methotrexate or leflunomide. None of the nontransplanted vasculitis patients had detectable plasma BKV. Among 35 patients in group B, 16 were tested for BKV; 5/16 (31%) had detectable virus in plasma at a mean of 6 months after TX (p = 0.002). Most (94%) were on maintenance therapy with MMF, P and tacrolimus. Conclusion: Immunosuppressed patients with GPA/MPA without KTX had no evidence of plasma BKV. However, BKV was common in GPA/MPA patients after KTX, suggesting that replication may be related to differences in immunosuppression, alloimmune activation or differences in host defense mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • ANCA vasculitis
  • BK virus replication
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Immunosuppression
  • Microscopic polyangiitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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