EBV Kidney Allograft Infection: Possible Relationship with a Peri-Graft Localization of PTLD

Fernando G. Cosio, Margaret Nuovo, Lazaro Delgado, Martha Yearsley, Pierluigi Porcu, Michael Caligiuri, Ronald P. Pelletier, Gerard J. Nuovo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a grave complication of transplantation and the result of uncontrolled proliferation of B lymphocytes infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Herein we assess whether EBV infects renal grafts and whether there is a relationship between EBV kidney infection and PTLD. Allograft biopsies from 23 patients with PTLD were studied for the presence of EBV DNA and RNA (EBER-1, -2) by in situ hybridization and for CD21 by immunohistochemistry. Results were compared to 43 transplants from people without PTLD. EBV DNA and RNA were detected in 11/43 patients without PTLD (26%), and in 15/23 (65%) patients with PTLD (p = 0.004). EBV DNA and RNA localized to proximal tubular cells and these cells showed up-regulation of the EBV receptor CD21. EBV-infected allografts were noted in 12/12 patients with PTLD located near the allograft and in 3/11 (27%) of patients with PTLD distant from the graft. Multiple biopsies in eight patients showed that graft EBV infection can precede the diagnosis of PTLD by as long as 42 months. It is concluded that EBV can infect kidney allografts, and there appears to be a relationship between this infection and the presence of PTLD near the graft.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • EBV
  • Infection
  • Kidney
  • Lymphoma
  • PTLD
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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