ABSTRACT: JC virus (JCV) is latent in the kidneys and lymphoid organs of healthy individuals, and its reactivation in the context of immunosuppression may lead to progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Whether JCV is present in the brains or other organs of healthy people and in immunosuppressed patients without PML has been a matter of debate. We detected JCV large T DNA by quantitative PCR of archival brain samples of 9/24 (38%) HIV-positive PML patients, 5/18 (28%) HIV-positive individuals, and 5/19 (26%) HIV-negative individuals. In the same samples, we detected JCV regulatory region DNA by nested PCR in 6/19 (32%) HIV-positive PML patients, 2/11 (18%) HIV-positive individuals, and 3/17 (18%) HIV-negative individuals. In addition, JCV DNA was detected in some spleen, lymph node, bone, and kidney samples from the same groups. In situ hybridization data confirmed the presence of JCV DNA in the brains of patients without PML. However, JCV proteins (VP1 or T antigen) were detected mainly in the brains of 23/24 HIV-positive PML patients, in only a few kidney samples of HIV-positive patients, with or without PML, and rarely in the bones of HIV-positive patients with PML. JCV proteins were not detected in the spleen or lymph nodes in any study group. Furthermore, analysis of the JCV regulatory region sequences showed both rearranged and archetype forms in brain and extraneural organs in all three study groups. Regulatory regions contained increased variations of rearrangements correlating with immunosuppression. These results provide evidence of JCV latency in the brain prior to severe immunosuppression and suggest new paradigms in JCV latency, compartmentalization, and reactivation.
Journal of Virology 09/2010; 84(18):9200-9. · 5.40 Impact Factor