Lower numbers of circulating natural killer T (NK T) cells in individuals with human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) associated neurological disease

L. C. Ndhlovu, J. E. Snyder-Cappione, K. I. Carvalho, F. E. Leal, C. P. Loo, F. R. Bruno, A. R. Jha, D. Devita, A. M. Hasenkrug, H. M.R. Barbosa, A. C. Segurado, D. F. Nixon, E. L. Murphy, E. G. Kallas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infects 10-20 million people worldwide. The majority of infected individuals are asymptomatic; however, approximately 3% develop the debilitating neurological disease HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). There is also currently no cure, vaccine or effective therapy for HTLV-1 infection, and the mechanisms for progression to HAM/TSP remain unclear. NK T cells are an immunoregulatory T cell subset whose frequencies and effector functions are associated critically with immunity against infectious diseases. We hypothesized that NK T cells are associated with HAM/TSP progression. We measured NK T cell frequencies and absolute numbers in individuals with HAM/TSP infection from two cohorts on two continents: São Paulo, Brazil and San Francisco, CA, USA, and found significantly lower levels when compared with healthy subjects and/or asymptomatic carriers. Also, the circulating NK T cell compartment in HAM/TSP subjects is comprised of significantly more CD4+ and fewer CD8 + cells than healthy controls. These findings suggest that lower numbers of circulating NK T cells and enrichment of the CD4+ NK T subset are associated with HTLV-1 disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-299
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Volume158
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Keywords

  • CD4
  • CD8
  • HTLV-1 infection
  • Innate immunity
  • NK T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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