The pathologic spectrum of adenovirus nephritis in the kidney allograft

Geetha Jagannathan, Astrid Weins, Emily Daniel, Russel J. Crew, Sidney J. Swanson, Glen S. Markowitz, Vivette D. D'Agati, Nicole K. Andeen, Helmut G. Rennke, Ibrahim Batal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Adenovirus nephritis (ADVN) is a rare and understudied complication of kidney transplantation. Unlike BK virus nephropathy (BKVN), our knowledge of clinicopathologic manifestations of ADVN remains rudimentary and essentially limited to case reports. To expand on this, we retrospectively studied 11 kidney transplant recipients with ADVN and compared their allograft biopsies to 33 kidney transplant recipients with BKVN using conventional microscopy and the 770 gene Nanostring Banff Human Organ Transplant Profiling Panel. Patients with ADVN had a median age of 44 years, were predominantly male, and developed ADVN at a median of 31 months post-transplantation. Eight patients presented with fever and ten had hematuria. The most common histologic manifestations included granulomas (82%), tubulocentric inflammation (73%), and tubular degenerative changes consistent with acute tubular necrosis (73%). During a median follow-up of 55 months after biopsy, three patients developed allograft failure from subsequent acute rejection. All seven patients with available follow-up PCR showed resolution of viremia at a median of 30 days after diagnosis. Compared to BKVN, ADVN demonstrated more granulomas and less tubulointerstitial scarring. On follow-up, patients with ADVN had more rapid clearance of viral DNA from plasma. Transcriptomic analyses showed that ADVN had increased expression of several pro-inflammatory transcriptomes, mainly related to innate immunity, was associated with increased expression of transcripts with inhibitory effects on inflammatory response and showed higher enrichment with neutrophils, which can cause aggressive but short-lasting damage. Thus, we demonstrate that, despite its association with aggressive neutrophil-rich inflammation, ADVN does not often lead to allograft failure. Hence, preventing subsequent acute rejection following resolution of ADVN may improve allograft survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-390
Number of pages13
JournalKidney International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • adenovirus
  • granulomas
  • kidney transplant
  • nephritis
  • transplant pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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