Polyomavirus infection occurring during childhood is followed by a lifelong latency in immunocompetent subjects. The major site of polyomavirus persistence are the uroepithelial cells which leads to oral transmission. It has recently been hypothesized that tonsils could be a possible reservoir. The role of tonsil, adenoid, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) as possible sites of JCV, BKV, and SV40 latency in young healthy children was assessed. Two hundred fifteen fresh specimens, including 57 tonsil, 80 adenoid, and 78 PBMC samples from 80 immunocompetent children (mean age 4.8 years) were analyzed to determine the viral load by quantitative real-time PCR. The human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) was tested as a lymphotropic reference virus. Polyomavirus was detected in 5/ 80 (6.2%) children while HHV-6 infection affected 27/80 children (33.7%) (P2/5.5 × 10e4 to 6.8 × 10e3/8.5 × 10e4 viral copies/number of cells. In conclusion, tonsils and adenoids of children could effectively harbor BKV and SV40, although only very few cells proved to be infected. Nevertheless, the low prevalence of polyomavirus, in comparison with the lymphotropic HHV-6, suggests that these tissues are unlikely to be the preferred site of polyomavirus latency, at least in younger children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases