The high prevalence of asymptomatic JC polyomavirus (JCV) infection in the general population indicates coexistence with the human host and efficient immune control in healthy individuals. For unknown reasons, kidney-resident archetypic JCV strains can turn into neurotropic JCV strains which in hereditary or acquired states of immunodeficiency cause opportunistic infection and cytolytic destruction of glial cells or granule cell neurons resulting in progressive multifocal demyelination in the central nervous system (CNS) or cerebellar atrophy, respectively. Immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive therapies with specific monoclonal antibodies including natalizumab, efalizumab, and rituximab have increased the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) among treated patients, highlighting that symptomatic JCV infection of the CNS is associated with disturbances of adaptive immunity affecting B cells, antibodies, and CD4(+) and/or CD8(+) T cells. To date, no specific therapy to overcome PML is available and the only way to eliminate the virus from the CNS is to reconstitute global immune function. However, since the identification of JCV as the causative agent of PML 40 years ago, it is still not fully understood which components of the immune system prevent the development of PML and which immune mechanisms are involved in eliminating the virus from the CNS. This review gives an update about adaptive JCV-specific immune responses.