Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type II-associated myelopathy: Clinical and immunologic profiles

Tanya J. Lehky, Nicholas Flerlage, David Katz, Sidney Houff, William H. Hall, Kazuyoshi Ishii, Claude Monken, Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, Henry F. McFarland, Steven Jacobson

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46 Scopus citations


Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type II (HTLV-II) is endemic in several ethnic tribes and among intravenous drug users in metropolitan areas. Despite the presence of HTLV-II in these various populations, the association of HTLV-II with disease is sparse and mainly limited to isolated case reports. This study is an extension of an earlier description of an HTLV-II-infected patient with neurologic disease and presents the clinical and immunologic findings of 4 patients with HTLV-II seropositivity and spastic paraparesis. The patients are of African-American origin with 3 of the patients being of Amerindian descent. All of the patients are seronegative for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The patients progressed to a nonambulatory state in less than 5 years. Magnetic resonance imaging studies obtained from 3 of the patients demonstrated white matter disease in the cerebrum and spinal cord. The cerebrospinal fluid and serum contained antibodies to HTLV- II. The presence of proviral HTLV-II was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction analysis of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs). A spinal cord biopsy from 1 patient demonstrated HTLV RNA within a lesion. Immunologic studies on 2 patients demonstrated that spontaneous lymphoproliferation of PBLs was present but decreased relative to HTLV-I-infected patients. The clinical and immunologic findings from these HTLV-II-infected patient resemble those found in HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-723
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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