ASN's Mission

To create a world without kidney diseases, the ASN Alliance for Kidney Health elevates care by educating and informing, driving breakthroughs and innovation, and advocating for policies that create transformative changes in kidney medicine throughout the world.

learn more

Contact ASN

1401 H St, NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20005


The Latest on Twitter

Kidney Week

Abstract: FR-PO905

BKV Clearance Time Correlates with the Exhaustion State and T-Cell Receptor Repertoire Shape of BKV-Specific T-Cells in Renal Transplant Patients with Severe BKV Infection

Session Information

Category: Transplantation

  • 1802 Transplantation: Clinical


  • Stervbo, Ulrik, University Hospital Marien Hospital Herne, Herne, Germany
  • Nienen, Mikalai, University Hospital Marien Hospital Herne, Herne, Germany
  • Reinke, Petra, Charité, Campus Virchow Klinikum, Berlin, Germany
  • Westhoff, Timm H., University Hospital Marien Hospital Herne, Herne, Germany
  • Babel, Nina, University Hospital Marien Hospital Herne, Herne, Germany

Reactivation of the BK polyomavirus is known to lead to severe complications in kidney transplant patients. The current treatment strategy relies on decreasing the immunosuppression to allow the immune system to clear the virus. Recently we demonstrated a clear association between the resolution of BKV reactivation and reconstitution of BKV-specific CD4+ T-cells. However, the factors determining the duration of the clearance of the viral infection remain unknown.


Here we apply a combination of in-depth multiparametric flow cytometry and CDR3 beta chain receptor repertoire analysis of BKV specific T-cells to a cohort of 5 kidney transplant patients with BKV reactivation. In this manner we were able to track the TCR repertoires at single clone levels during the clinical course of BKV infection.


The number of BKV-specific T-cells in peripheral blood did not affect the duration of BKV infection. In contrast, the diversity of the T-cell receptor repertoire as well as exhaustion status of BKV-specific T-cells correlated with the duration of viral clearance. This duration was further found to be independent of hyperexpanded, immunodominant BKV-specific T-cell clones and of the overall magnitude of cellular immunity. Rather, the diversity of BKV-specific TCR repertoire in peripheral blood: high diversity of the repertoire and lack of PD1 and TIM-3 exhaustion markers on BKV-specific T-cells is associated with short remission time.


Our data demonstrate that the quality (exhaustion status and shape of the repertoire) rather than quantity of BKV-specific T-cells determines the remission time after BKV reactivation.


  • NIDDK Support