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Keywords:

  • Cell-mediated immunity;
  • polyoma BK virus;
  • renal transplant;
  • T cell

(Re)activation of quiescent viral diseases is a major problem in immunosuppressed transplant patients. Polyoma BK virus-associated nephropathy (PVAN) caused by active polyoma BK virus (BKV) infection became a main reason for graft loss in kidney transplantation. After diagnosis, most transplant centers react by reducing immunosuppression (IS) to allow the immune system to control the infection. However, the impact of reduced IS on BKV immunity is not well researched. Here we present an HLA type-independent method to monitor BKV-specific T-cell immunity. Applying our method, viral protein 1-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses were detected in patients with serum BKV-DNA levels >250 000 copies/mL. In addition, specific T-cell responses were also found in allograft-infiltrating cells. The method can be used to assess the impact of decreased immunosuppresson on BKV immunity and to clarify the role of specific T cells in the pathogenesis of PVAN. We strongly recommend its implementation in future clinical studies.