HIV-1 can infect kidney allografts after transplantation despite undetectable viremia, researchers concluded in a report published online ahead of print in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Guillaume Canaud, MD, of Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in Paris, and colleagues used electron microscopy and molecular biology to examined protocol renal transplant biopsies from 19 kidney recipients with HIV-1 who did not have detectable levels of plasma HIV-1 RNA at transplantation. In 68% of these patients, HIV-1 infected the allograft. “Notably, HIV-1 infection was detected in either podocytes predominately (38% of recipients) or tubular cells only (62% of recipients),” the authors wrote. They noted that the infection could influence graft outcome.

The researchers had hypothesized that unrecognized infection of the transplanted kidney by HIV-1 can compromise long-term allograft function.

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