Newly discovered KI, WU, and Merkel cell polyomaviruses: No evidence of mother-to-fetus transmission

Mohammadreza Sadeghi, Anita Riipinen, Elina Väisänen, Tingting Chen, Kalle Kantola, Heljä Marja Surcel, Riitta Karikoski, Helena Taskinen, Maria Söderlund-Venermo, Klaus Hedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Three* human polyomaviruses have been discovered recently, KIPyV, WUPyV and MCPyV. These viruses appear to circulate ubiquitously; however, their clinical significance beyond Merkel cell carcinoma is almost completely unknown. In particular, nothing is known about their preponderance in vertical transmission. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of fetal infections by these viruses. We sought the three by PCR, and MCPyV also by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), from 535 fetal autopsy samples (heart, liver, placenta) from intrauterine fetal deaths (IUFDs) (N = 169), miscarriages (120) or induced abortions (246). We also measured the MCPyV IgG antibodies in the corresponding maternal sera (N = 462) mostly from the first trimester. Results: No sample showed KIPyV or WUPyV DNA. Interestingly, one placenta was reproducibly PCR positive for MCPyV. Among the 462 corresponding pregnant women, 212 (45.9%) were MCPyV IgG seropositive. Conclusions: Our data suggest that none of the three emerging polyomaviruses often cause miscarriages or IUFDs, nor are they transmitted to fetuses. Yet, more than half the expectant mothers were susceptible to infection by the MCPyV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number251
JournalVirology Journal
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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