The main challenge of immunosuppressive therapy after solid organ transplantation is to create a new immunological balance that prevents organ rejection and does not promote opportunistic infection. Torque teno virus (TTV), a ubiquitous and non-pathogenic single-stranded DNA virus, has been proposed as a marker of functional immunity in immunocompromised patients. Here we investigate whether TTV loads predict the risk of common viral infection and allograft rejection in kidney transplantation recipients. In a retrospective cohort of 389 kidney transplantation recipients, individual TTV loads in were measured by qPCR in consecutive plasma samples during one year follow-up. The endpoints were allograft rejection, BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) viremia and cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia. Repeated TTV measurements and rejection and infection survival data were analysed in a joint model. During follow-up, TTV DNA detection in the transplant recipients increased from 85 to 100%. The median viral load increased to 10 genome copies/ml within three months after transplantation. Rejection, BKPyV viremia and CMV viremia occurred in 23%, 27% and 17% of the patients, respectively. With every 10-fold TTV load-increase, the risk of rejection decreased considerably (HR: 0.74, CI 95%: 0.71-0.76), while the risk of BKPyV and CMV viremia remained the same (HR: 1.03, CI 95%: 1.03-1.04 and HR: 1.01, CI 95%: 1.01-1.01). In conclusion, TTV load kinetics predict allograft rejection in kidney transplantation recipients, but not the BKPyV and CMV infection. The potential use of TTV load levels as a guide for optimal immunosuppressive drug dosage to prevent allograft rejection deserves further validation.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.