Sexual transmission of human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is considered to be an important route of infection in adults. However, no direct evidence has been reported that supports this observation. To address this issue, sequence variations of the gp46 (envelope)-coding region of HTLV-1 were determined in 13 patients infected with HTLV-1 who experienced seroconversion and in their spouses. Twenty-two nucleotide changes that were different from the reference sequence of λATK-1 were identified. However, the gp46 sequences found were identical within each married couple. HTLV-1 proviral DNA loads measured in 11 of these couples varied from 10 to 3430 copies per 105 PBMC, and the proviral DNA loads of spouses often differed. This study provides the first genetic confirmation of the transmission of HTLV-1 from a carrier spouse to his/her partner. The findings also suggest that host-related factors play a more important role than do virus-specific factors in determining HTLV-1 proviral DNA load.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases