The true extent of human T-lymphotropic virus type I and II (HTLV-I/II) infection in European countries and its pathogenetic potential are still unknown. To find out more about HTLV-I/II incidence in our area we studied a group of 160 outpatients attending a sexually transmitted disease clinic over a six-month period. All patients were screened for the presence of specific antibody by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblotting (IB) analysis, using commercially available reagents. A surprisingly high percentage of patients showed an antibody reactivity to HTLV-I/II antigens by ELISA (9.3%) and IB (6.8%), although none of the samples satisfied the internationally accepted criteria of serological positivity. All subjects, irrespective of doubtful and inconclusive serological results, were further analyzed for the presence of proviral DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells by polymerase chain reaction using different pairs of primers and probes. A clear cut positive result for the presence of HTLV-I provirus-related DNA sequences was obtained in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of only one patient, a 26 years old female presenting genital condylomatosis, with no history of blood transfusion and/or intravenous drug abuse. Her serum showed a borderline result at ELISA and an IB reactivity only against p21. These data are open to various possible interpretations and, among others, may represent a hint for the presence of divergent antigenic variants of HTLV-I in the geographical area investigated.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1993|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)