Journal Article

Trends in immune function assay (ImmuKnow; Cylex™) results in the first year post-transplant and relationship to BK virus infection

Jane Gralla, Janna Huskey and Alexander C. Wiseman

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 27, issue 6, pages 2565-2570
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online December 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
Trends in immune function assay (ImmuKnow; Cylex™) results in the first year post-transplant and relationship to BK virus infection

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The ImmuKnow assay is a functional T-cell assay (TCA) that may quantify cellular immune responsiveness following renal transplantation. Using a standard protocol of TCA sampling in the first year post-transplant, we examined changes in TCA values over time and tested for an association between TCA and BK virus (BKV) infection as a marker of over-immunosuppression.


We performed a single-center retrospective analysis of 897 TCA results in 414 renal transplant recipients obtained at 0 (N = 122), 1 (N = 316), 6 (N = 258) and 12 (N = 201) months post-transplant from May 2005 to July 2009 with concurrent urine and blood BKV polymerase chain reaction measurements.


Nearly 40% of patients experienced a decrease in TCA of >150 ng/mL from 1 to 6 months (mean 466–356 ng/mL, P < 0.0001) and remained stable from 6 to 12 months (mean 357 versus 370 ng/mL, P = 0.33). Neither a change in TCA of >150 ng/mL nor a TCA value of ≤225 ng/mL were associated with a diagnosis of BKV infection at 1 or 6 months, while TCA ≤225 ng/mL was associated with BKV infection at 12 months (P = 0.005).


A reduction in TCA from 1 to 6 months post-transplant is common and is not associated with conditions of over-immunosuppression, rendering the interpretation of changes in TCA during this time period difficult. BKV infection is associated with low TCA values at 12 months, suggesting that patients with low TCA values after 6 months may benefit from potential tailoring of immunosuppression or more aggressive monitoring to prevent subsequent BKV infection.

Keywords: cellular immunity; immune monitoring; kidney transplantation

Journal Article.  3931 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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