Increased HTLV-I proviral DNA in HTLV-I-associated myelopathy: a quantitative polymerase chain reaction study

Ann Neurol. 1991 Feb;29(2):194-201. doi: 10.1002/ana.410290214.


Using the polymerase chain reaction, we quantitated the amount of human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) proviral DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 18 patients with HTLV-I--associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis; 17 HTLV-I carriers without HTLV-I--associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis, with or without other autoimmune or inflammatory diseases; and 19 seronegative control subjects. The HTLV-I proviral DNA was 10- to 100-fold higher in the patients and in the HTLV-I carriers without HAM/TSP who had autoimmune or inflammatory diseases than in the carriers without autoimmune or inflammatory diseases. The patients who had had onset of myelopathy at a younger age (15 to 39 years) had an extremely high level of HTLV-I proviral DNA in the early phase, as compared with findings in those with a late onset of myelopathy (at 44 to 61 years). The large increase in HTLV-I proviral DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells is presumably closely related to the development of autoimmune or inflammatory processes in HTLV-I carriers, including HTLV-I--associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Female
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / blood
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA, Viral