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Title: HTLV-I specific IFN-gamma+ CD8+ lymphocytes correlate with the proviral load in peripheral blood of infected individuals.
Authors: Kubota R,  Kawanishi T,  Matsubara H,  Manns A,  Jacobson S
Journal: J Neuroimmunol
Date: 2000 Jan 24
Branches: IIB
PubMed ID: 10636490
PMC ID: not available
Abstract: Human T lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I)-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) is an inflammatory neurological disease caused by HTLV-I infection. It has been shown that HAM/TSP patients have high proviral loads and an extraordinarily high frequency of circulating CD8 + cytotoxic T lymphocytes specific for HTLV-I in their peripheral blood when compared to asymptomatic HTLV-I carriers (AC). We have previously described an intracellular cytokine detection assay, in which interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) + CD8 + lymphocytes are specific for HTLV-I in infected individuals. Here, we have established a competitive polymerase chain reaction assay to measure the proviral load of patients and investigate a potential relationship between proviral load and virus-specific CD8 + lymphocytes. Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from eight HAM/TSP patients and seven AC for the measurement of HTLV-I measuring proviral loads. The same PBL were analyzed for intracellular IFN-gamma expression by flow cytometry. In the HAM/TSP patients and AC, the average proviral loads were 34,482 and 9784 copy/microg DNA (P = 0.021), and the average of IFN-gamma + CD8 + lymphocytes in total PBL were 1.47 and 0.08% (P = 0.001), respectively. It was confirmed that HAM/TSP patients have both high proviral loads and increased HTLV-I-specific CD8 + lymphocytes. Furthermore, we found a positive correlation between both factors in the patients with HAM/TSP (P = 0.044) but not in the AC (P = 0.508). These findings suggest that the high number of HTLV-I-specific lymphocytes may result from the increased proviral load in HAM/TSP patients.