It is estimated that about 10-20 million peoples are infected with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) around the world and suffered from HTLV-related diseases. The present study was aimed to evaluate the cellular immunity, T-cell activation, humoral immunity, and inflammatory response hallmarks which affect HTLV-1-associated disease progression. A total of 78 participants were included in the study, comprising 39 HTLV-1 asymptomatic careers (ACs) and 39 healthy controls. The HTLV-proviral load (PVL) was determined via real-time PCR technique, and anti-HTLV antibody, sIL2R, sCD30, Neoptrin, hs-CRP, IgE, anti-VCA, anti-EBNA, and anti-EA were assessed by ELISA method. Mean PVL in ACs was 352.7 ± 418.7 copies/104 PBMCs. A significant higher level of sIL-2R was observed in ACs (P < 0.0001). Anti-VCA antibody titer in ACs and healthy controls was 80.72 ± 105.95 and 156.05 ± 130.71, respectively (P = 0.007). Intriguingly, suppression in ACs immune response was not observed. Resultantly, HTLV-1 infection has no effect on the humoral immune response in ACs but greater T-cell activation and function cellular responses were detected. Finally, more studies on various immune markers in adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) patients are greatly needed to illuminate the association of ACs' immune status with the development of the related diseases.
Keywords: HTLV-1 asymptomatic careers (ACs); Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1); Immune markers; Northeastern Iran; Real-time PCR (qRT-PCR).