Human T-Cell Retrovirus and Adult T-Cell Lymphoma and Leukemia: Possible Factors on Viral Incidence
We have recently described the isolation of several related or identical retroviruses (called HTLV) from cultured human neoplastic T-lymphocytes. HTLV has so far been detected only in patients with adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma. The presence of virus seems to be specific for subsets of T-cells in these patients, and those T-cells are relatively mature (e. g., terminal transferase-negative). Cultured T-cells from two of the more carefully studied patients express abundant intracellular viral components but produce relatively low levels of virions, suggesting that these cells are restricting the virus life cycle at some stage later than synthesis of viral proteins and RNA. We have attempted to transmit HTLV to heterologous cells. So far, transmission of the virus (as judged by prolonged expression by the exposed target cells but not the unexposed cells of viral protein and RNA) has been successful only with T-lymphocytes from blood relatives of patients with T-cell disease for whom there was evidence for the presence of HTLV. These data suggest a genetic basis for T-cell susceptibility to HTLV infection. We have tested numerous sera for the presence of antibodies to HTLV. Among those positive for antibodies to p24 and pl9 were almost all serum samples from Japanese patients with adult T-cell leukemia. This disease is endemic to a restricted area in southern Japan, suggesting that geographical factors may also play a role in the incidence of HTLV.
KeywordsBovine Leukemia Virus Mycosis Fungoides Hairy Cell Leukemia Congenital Heart Disease Patient HTLV Infection
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