The intermediate state of HTLV-1 infection, often found in individuals dually infected with Strongyloides stercoralis (S. stercoralis) and HTLV-1, is assumed to be a preleukemic state of adult T-cell leukemia (ATL). To investigate the effects of S. stercoralis superinfection on the natural history of HTLV-1 infection, we characterized peripheral blood samples of these individuals in Okinawa, Japan, an endemic area for both HTLV-1 and S. stercoralis and we studied effects of the parasite antigen on T-cells. The dually infected individuals showed a significantly higher provirus load and an increase in CD4(+)25(+) T cell population, with a significant, positive correlation. This increase was attributable to polyclonal expansion of HTLV-1-infected cells, as demonstrated by inverse-long PCR analysis of the integration sites. S. stercoralis antigen activated the IL-2 promoter in reporter gene assays, induced production of IL-2 by PBMC in vitro, and supported growth of IL-2 dependent cell lines immortalized by HTLV-1 infection or the transduction of Tax. Taken collectively, these results indicate that S. stercoralis infection induces polyclonal expansion of HTLV-1-infected cells by activating the IL-2/IL-2R system in dually infected carriers, an event which may be a precipitating factor for ATL and inflammatory diseases.