Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 101–114 | Cite as

Backward bifurcation in a model for HTLV-I infection of CD4+ T cells



Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus Type I (HTLV-I) primarily infects CD4+ helper T cells. HTLV-I infection is clinically linked to the development of Adult T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma and of HTLV-I Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis, among other illnesses. HTLV-I transmission can be either horizontal through cell-to-cell contact, or vertical through mitotic division of infected CD4+ T cells. It has been observed that HTLV-I infection has a high proviral load but a low rate of proviral genetic variation. This suggests that vertical transmission through mitotic division of infected cells may play an important role.We consider and analyze a mathematical model for HTLV-I infection of CD4+ T cells that incorporates both horizontal and vertical transmission. Among interesting dynamical behaviors of the model is a backward bifurcation which raises many new challenges to effective infection control.


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© Society for Mathematical Biology 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematical and Statistical SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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