Molecular identification of SV40 infection in human subjects and possible association with kidney disease

Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (Impact Factor: 9.47). 09/2002; 13(9):2320-30. DOI: 10.1097/01.ASN.0000028249.06596.CF
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Simian virus 40 (SV40), a monkey polyomavirus that is believed to have entered the human population through contaminated vaccines, is known to be renotropic in simians. If indeed SV40 is endemic within the human population, the route of transmission is unknown. It was therefore hypothesized that SV40 might be renotropic in humans and be detected more frequently in samples obtained from patients with kidney diseases. This study found that typical polyomavirus cytopathic effects (CPE) were present and SV40 T antigen was detected in CV-1 cells cultured with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) or urinary cells obtained from patients with kidney disease and healthy volunteers. DNA sequences homologous to the SV40 viral regulatory genome were detected by PCR in urinary cells from 15 (41%) of 36 patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), 2 (10%) of 20 patients with other kidney diseases, and 1 (4%) of 22 healthy volunteers (FSGS compared with other glomerular disease, P < 0.02; FSGS compared with healthy volunteers, P = 0.003). SV40 viral regulatory region genome was detected from PBMC at similar frequencies in patients with FSGS (35%), other glomerular diseases (20%), and healthy volunteers (22%). SV40 genome was detected by PCR in kidney tissues from 17 (56%) of 30 of patients with FSGS and 4 (20%) of 20 patients with minimal change disease and membranous nephropathy (P < 0.01). Considerable genetic heterogeneity of the viral regulatory region was detected, which argues against laboratory contamination. SV40 genome was localized to renal tubular epithelial cell nuclei in renal biopsies of patients with FSGS by in situ hybridization. This study demonstrates for the first time that human kidney can serve as a reservoir for SV40 replication and that SV40 may contribute to the pathogenesis of kidney disease, particularly FSGS.

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