Role of the genetic background of rats in infection by HTLV-I and HTLV-II and in the development of associated diseases

Int J Cancer. 1997 Sep 26;73(1):131-6. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(19970926)73:1<131::aid-ijc20>;2-i.


Three aspects of the rat model of HTLV-I/II infection were investigated. (i) The efficacy of HTLV-I-transformed rat cell lines in infecting different strains of rats: WKY and Lewis HTLV-I-transformed cell lines were injected into adult WKY, Lewis and Brown Norway rats, representing syngeneic and allogeneic combinations. The HTLV-I provirus was not detected in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from these rats 18 weeks after inoculation, showing that HTLV-I-transformed rat cells are not suitable for virus challenge in vaccination experiments. Rats inoculated with Lewis HTLV-I-transformed cells produced an antibody response to HTLV-I, which was higher in allogeneic (WKY and Brown Norway) than in syngeneic rats. (ii) The susceptibility of rats to HTLV-II infection: After human HTLV-II-producing cells (MO) were injected into adult WKY rats, the HTLV-II provirus was detected in PBMC 12 weeks later. Sequencing of a portion of this provirus confirmed its identity with the HTLV-II from MO cells. (iii) The role of MHC haplotype in susceptibility to neurological disease in rats inoculated as newborns with HTLV-I: The hypothesis that the RT-Ik haplotype confers susceptibility was tested by inoculating newborn OKA (RT-Ik), WKY (RT-Il), Lewis (RT-Il) and Fischer 344 (RT-I lvl) rats with human HTLV-I-producing cells (MT-2). Eighteen months later, only the WKY rats showed histological abnormality of the spinal cord, without clinical paralysis. Fischer 344 rats developed cutaneous tumors and OKA rats mammary tumors. The HTLV-I provirus was not detected in these tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • HTLV-I Infections / genetics*
  • HTLV-II Infections / genetics*
  • Haplotypes
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / genetics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Species Specificity


  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • histocompatibility antigens RT, rat