Back to Blog

Twitter Poll (July 24, 2019)

By Vanessa Moreno, MD

Jul 25, 2019

Decoy cells, arkana laboratories, renal pathology


Decoy cells are epithelial cells containing intranuclear viral inclusions in urine. They are not specific for polyomavirus nephritis, but when present they may indicate polyoma infection of urinary tract.

These cells are easily identified in routine Papanicolaou stained urine cytology specimens, and can be identified in unstained sediment by phase-contrast microscopy.

In Papanicolaou stained cytology smears, Decoy cells are comet-shaped with large basophilic, amorphous, homogeneous, ground-glass like intranuclear inclusion bodies and a condensed rim of chromatin.


Singh HK, Bubendorf L, Mihatsch MJ, Drachenberg CB, Nickeleit V. (2006) Urine Cytology Findings of Polyomavirus Infections. In: Ahsan N. (eds) Polyomaviruses and Human Diseases. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 577. Springer, New York, NY.

Yamada Y, Tsuchiya T and Deguchi T. Prediction of Early BK Virus Infection in Kidney Transplant Recipients by the Number of Cells with Intranuclear Inclusion Bodies (Decoy Cells). Transplant Direct. 2018 Feb 2;4(2):e340.




Quick note: This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or health advice. Each person should consult their own doctor with respect to matters referenced. Arkana Laboratories assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.