Human T-cell lymphotropic virus I and adult T-cell leukemia: report of a cluster in North Carolina.
PURPOSE: Human adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma is a malignant, proliferative disease of CD4+ lymphocytes associated with infection with human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I). Following the presentation of a patient who was infected with the virus, we undertook a study of his family members and sexual contacts to see if a cluster of infected persons could be identified. CASE REPORT: A black heterosexual North Carolina native with a history of drug abuse presented with jaundice, and pancytopenia subsequently developed. He then became hypercalcemic and leukemic, with high numbers of circulating, morphologically abnormal CD4+ lymphocytes. RESULTS: As determined by radioimmunoassay and immunoblot analyses, the serum of the index case contained antibodies against core proteins (p19 and p24) of HTLV-I. When cultured in vitro with interleukin-2, the lymphocytes expressed HTLV-I specific core proteins. The virus recovered from these T cells was transmitted to cord blood T cells, which became immortalized for continuous growth in vitro, expressed HTLV-I p19 protein, and displayed characteristic C-type particles by electron microscopy. Studies of family members and sexual contacts, all of whom were black, heterosexual central North Carolina natives, revealed five of 28 whose serum had anti-HTLV-I antibodies as determined by radioimmunoassay and immunoblot. Neither the patient nor the seropositive family/contacts had antibodies against human immunodeficiency virus proteins. Four of the six people with HTLV-I infection had no history of intravenous drug abuse. Three of the five seropositive family/contacts had circulating, morphologically abnormal lymphocytes suggestive of "preleukemic" or "smoldering" human adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma.
Weinberg, JB; Spiegel, RA; Blazey, DL; Janssen, RS; Kaplan, JE; Robert-Guroff, M; Popovic, M; Matthews, TJ; Haynes, BF; Palker, TJ
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