Chronic neurodegenerative disease associated with HTLV-II infection

Lancet. 1992 Mar 14;339(8794):645-6. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(92)90797-7.


Although human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV) type I is known to cause a number of diseases, there has been no convincing evidence of pathological changes after infection with the related virus, HTLV-II. We have found an endemic focus of HTLV-II infection among members of an American Indian population in New Mexico, USA. We set out to determine the pathological consequences of HTLV-II infection in this population and identified two sisters (aged 59 and 46 years) with a disease superficially resembling the myeloneuropathy induced by HTLV-I. These women had a syndrome similar to the olivopontocerebellar atrophy variant of multiple system atrophy, and HTLV-II infection was confirmed by western blot and the polymerase chain reaction. Thus, HTLV-II may, like HTLV-I, cause a progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ataxia / microbiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • HTLV-II Infections / complications*
  • HTLV-II Infections / ethnology
  • HTLV-II Infections / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Spasticity / microbiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / ethnology
  • Nervous System Diseases / microbiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • New Mexico
  • Paralysis / microbiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction