Detection and sequence analysis of human polyomaviruses DNA from autoptic samples of HIV-1 positive and negative subjects

Valeria Pietropaolo, D. Fioriti, P. Simeone, M. Videtta, C. Di Taranto, A. Arancio, N. Orsi, A. M. Degener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The distribution of DNA of BK and JC human polyomaviruses (BKV and JCV) was investigated in samples from autopsies of different organs in 2 groups of patients: Human Immunodeficiency Virus -1 (HIV) positive and negative. Samples from various organs were analysed by a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the non-coding control and for the VP1 regions of both viruses. The results obtained showed that BKV DNA was present in both males and females with a higher prevalence in HIV-positive subject samples (spleen: 33% kidney: 44%; brain: 22%, uterine cervix: 100%; prostatic urethra: 50%). In prostatic urethra samples of HIV-positive subjects, the JCV DNA was revealed in a low percentage (33%), while it was not found at all in uterine cervix samples of both groups. The varying presence of BK and JC viral DNA in the different organs seems to reflect the different pathogenetic attitude of these viruses. JCV was mainly present in the brain (55%), confirming its typical neurotropism and its etiological role in neurological disorders found in immunodeficient patients. BKV, on the other hand, was mainly present in the kidney (44%) and in genital organs (uterine cervix: 100%; prostatic urethra: 50%) with the latter finding favouring the hypothesis of a possible sexual transmission of BKV. Furthermore, our results confirm the crucial role of the immune system in the persistence of human polyomaviruses in the host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-276
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003


  • BKV
  • HIV-1
  • JCV
  • Sexual transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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