Systemic Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Following Cadaveric Renal Transplantation: A Case Report

Y.N. KangH.K. OhY.C. ChangH.-C. KimS.L. LeeM. HwangK.-K. Park
Dept. of Pathology (병리학)
Issue Date
Transplantation Proceedings, Vol.38(5) : 1346-1347, 2006
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection usually occurs in immunocompromised or severely debilitated patients. It is not so common in patients with renal transplants. The diagnosis can only be made histologically. It usually occurs during or shortly after treatment of graft rejection with high-dose steroids. We have recently experienced a case of HSV esophagitis and nephropathy in the renal allograft biopsy, which was identified by histology, immunostaining, and electron microscopy. A 43-year-old woman underwent cadaveric renal transplantation with cyclosporine and prednisolone treatment. Twelve months later, she developed renal insufficiency and proteinuria. Allograft renal biopsy showed some evidence of acute rejection. She was treated with 3 successive days of methylprednisolone (1.0 g/d) intravenously and continued tapering of steroids. Three weeks after steroid pulse therapy, she had throat pain, oral cavity ulcer, dysphagia, and febrile sensation. Esophagoscopy revealed multiple confluent ulcers in the whole esophagus, and biopsy showed enlarged epithelial cells with prominent nuclei. Immunohistochemically, the epithelial cells were positive with a monoclonal antibody to HSV type 1. She was started on acyclovir intravenously, which was continued for a week. After a week, her symptoms began to improve and repeat endoscopy showed no residual esophagitis. A renal allograft infection with HSV can persist in heavily immunosuppressed patients with recurrent rejection episodes. HSV mainly affects tubular cells causing necrosis, a major reason for functional deterioration. A biopsy is required for diagnosis.
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