Inflammatory manifestations of HTLV-1 and their therapeutic options

Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2014 Nov;10(11):1531-46. doi: 10.1586/1744666X.2014.966690.


Human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is one of the most intriguing retroviruses infecting humans. Most commonly, infection remains undetected, since it does not cause obvious harm, yet in 4-9% of patients, this infection can be devastating, causing adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma and/or HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). This review concentrates on all inflammatory aspects of HTLV-1 infection: HAM/TSP, HTLV-1 associated uveitis, HTLV-1 associated conjunctivitis, sicca syndrome and interstitial keratitis, HTLV-1 associated Sjögren's syndrome, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease, HTLV-1 associated pulmonary disease, infective dermatitis associated with HTLV-1, HTLV-1 associated inflammatory myositis and HTLV-1 associated arthritis. With the exception of HAM/TSP treatment, studies of these conditions are sparse and even for HAM/TSP, the level of evidence is limited. While control or elimination of infection remains a goal, most therapy beyond symptomatic management is directed at the immune response to HTLV-1.

Keywords: Graves’; HAID; HAM/TSP; HAU; HTLV; Hashimoto; Sjögren’s; arthritis; infective dermatitis; inflammation; keratitis; polymyositis; thyroiditis; uveitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • HTLV-I Infections* / immunology
  • HTLV-I Infections* / pathology
  • HTLV-I Infections* / therapy
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases* / immunology
  • Immune System Diseases* / pathology
  • Immune System Diseases* / therapy
  • Inflammation
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell* / immunology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell* / pathology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell* / therapy