Human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) -associated myelopathy/tropic spastic paraparesis is a demyelinating inflammatory neurologic disease associated with HTLV-1 infection. HTLV-1 Tax11-19-specific cytotoxic T cells have been isolated from HLA-A2-positive patients. We have used a peptide-loaded soluble HLA-A2-Ig complex to directly visualize HTLV-1 Tax11-19-specific T cells from peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid without in vitro stimulation. Five of six HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropic spastic paraparesis patients carried a significant number (up to 13.87%) of CD8+ lymphocytes specific for the HTLV-1 Tax11-19 peptide in their peripheral blood, which were not found in healthy controls. Simultaneous comparison of peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid from one patient revealed 2.5-fold more Tax11-19-specific T cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (23.7% vs. 9.4% in peripheral blood lymphocyte). Tax11-19-specific T cells were seen consistently over a 9-yr time course in one patient as far as 19 yrs after the onset of clinical symptoms. Further analysis of HTLV-1 Tax11-19-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes in HAM/TSP patients showed different expression patterns of activation markers, intracellular TNF-α and γ-interferon depending on the severity of the disease. Thus, visualization of antigen-specific T cells demonstrates that HTLV-1 Tax11-19-specific CD8+ T cells are activated, persist during the chronic phase of the disease, and accumulate in cerebrospinal fluid, showing their pivotal role in the pathogenesis of this neurologic disease.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 23 1998|
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