BACKGROUND.: BK virus nephropathy (BKVN) may cause renal allograft dysfunction and failure. The gold standard test is kidney biopsy, which is invasive and costly. A noninvasive, accurate biomarker for diagnosis of BKVN and prognostication of allograft function after BKVN infection may improve allograft survival. METHODS.: We tested the diagnostic accuracy of our previously reported cutoff value of 6.5×10 BKV viral capsid protein 1 (VP-1) mRNA/ng RNA in urinary cells (Ding et al., Transplantation 2002; 74: 987) using an independent cohort (n=89). We also examined whether urinary cell mRNA profiles obtained at the time of BKVN diagnosis identified patients at risk of subsequent decline in graft function. RESULTS.: BKVN was accurately diagnosed (sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 97%) using our previously reported cutoff value. Levels of granzyme B (GB) mRNA (P=0.002) and proteinase inhibitor (PI)-9 mRNA (P=0.01) in urinary cells were higher in BKVN patients with a subsequent decline in renal function (n=8) compared with patients with stable function (n=10), and were positively associated (GB, P=0.01; PI-9, P=0.04) with rise in serum creatinine from the time of BKVN diagnosis to 12 months after diagnosis. GB levels in the BKVN patients with a decline in renal function were similar to those in the acute rejection group (n=11, P>0.05), but higher than the normal biopsy group (n=36, P<0.001); levels in BKVN patients with stable function were lower than those in the acute rejection group (P<0.01) and not significantly different from the normal biopsy group (P>0.05). CONCLUSIONS.: Noninvasive diagnosis of BKVN and prognostication of renal allograft function after BKVN diagnosis are feasible by measurement of transcripts for BKV viral capsid protein 1 (VP-1), GB, and PI-9 in urine.
- Gene expression
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