human polyomaviruses, BKV and JCV are ubiquitous in human populations
worldwide. They sub-clinically establish persistent, latent infections and
are capable of reactivating in a setting of immune suppression or
immunodeficiency, leading to disease progression. We investigated the
frequency of BKV and JCV existence in HIV-infected patients in comparison
with HIV-negative patients.
Methods: A sample
bank of 220 cervical smears from Kenyan women, in addition to 109 tissue
biopsies from women with positive cervical carcinoma were analysed by a
nested PCR for the large Tag gene of the sequences both BKV and JCV genomes.
Results: The overall prevalence of BKV-JCV DNA in
cervical specimens was 24/329 (7.3%). BKV-JCV DNA was detected in 5/105
(4.7%) of cervical smears and in 6/37 (16%) of cervical carcinomas from women
infected with HIV whereas 9/115 (7.8%) of the cervical smears and 4/72 (5.5%)
of the carcinomas were positive in HIV negative women. Nested PCR showed that
all 24 samples were positive for JCV and not BKV.
Conclusion: A correlation between the presence of JCV
and immune status was found statistically significant (p= .025). Prevalence
of JCV sequences was found 4 times higher with cervical tissue carcinomas in
comparison to precancerous cervical smears in HIV-infected patients. JCV
reactivation in a setting of immunodeficiency may associate with HPV
infection to establish an etiological role in the progression to cervical