“HTLV-I Infection” Twenty-Year Research in Neurology Department of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences

Document Type : Review Article


1 Assistant Professor of Neurology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences

2 Professor of Neurology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences

3 Neurologist, Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences

4 Resident of Neurology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences


Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) types 1 and 2 belong to the Oncorna group of retroviridae, a large family of viruses, grouped initially by pathogenic features, but later revised on the basis of genome structure and nucleotide sequence. HTLV-I was the first discovered human retrovirus to be associated with a malignancy in 1980. The malignancy, first described by Uchiyama and co-workers in southwestern Japan, was named Adult T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (ATL) and characterized with cutaneous and respiratory involvement, hepatosplenomegaly, lymphadenopathy and various metabolic abnormalities such as hypercalcemia. The HTLV-I has been known to be endemic to certain parts of Iran like the province of Khorasan in the northeast since 1990, with a 2.3% prevalence rate of infection. The main manifestations of HTLV-I infection are neurologic and hematologic (such as ATL) disorders, but it has also other manifestations such as uveitis, arthritis, dermatitis, vitiligo and lymphocytic alveolitis. Its main neurologic manifestation is a chronic progressive myelopathy that is referred to HTLV-I Associated Myelopathy (HAM) in Japan and Tropical Spastic Paraparesis (TSP) in Caribbean. But other disorders such as peripheral neuropathy, polyradiculoneuropathy, myopathy, peripheral facial paresis, and so on have been reported too. In this review we wish to give some brief information on the different aspects (including epidemiology, pathogenesis and pathology, clinical findings, and treatment) of HTLV-I infection according to our twenty-year researches. The department of neurology of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences has been a pioneer in researches on HTLV-I in the last twenty years.


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