Molecular diagnosis of viral infections in renal transplant recipients

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To discuss biological and methodological aspects of virus infection monitoring in the renal transplant setting.

RECENT FINDINGS: New insights on the molecular pathogenesis of acute and persistent virus infections and rapid developments in real-time monitoring techniques are changing the current diagnostic routine. Accurate risk-assessment prior to transplantation and quantitative monitoring of parameters that reflect virus activity in the post-transplant period, including genome load fluctuations and aberrant viral mRNA or protein expression, provide early signs of undesired viral behaviour and allow pre-emptive therapeutic intervention. As opposed to prophylactic administration of antiviral drugs, a pre-emptive approach is more selective and will allow for antiviral immune responses to build, which may have a long-term beneficial effect. In addition, these virus-monitoring techniques allow for on-line assessment of therapeutic efficacy and rapid identification of emerging resistant strains. The combination of virus-monitoring techniques with rapid assessment of host immune responses using FACS and ELISPOT techniques, will improve overall patient management and long-term survival.

SUMMARY: Viral infections continue to be a significant complication in the transplant setting. Diagnostic monitoring allows timely and accurate therapeutic intervention. Knowledge of pathogenic mechanisms leading to disease is important for clinical decision making as well as for the selection of appropriate molecular parameters discriminating normal and disease-related activity of human pathogenic viruses. The increasing availability of effective antiviral drugs permits pre-emptive intervention that strongly depends on accurate viral monitoring procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-72
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002

Cite this