Background: Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infects an estimated 10 million persons globally with transmission resulting in lifelong infection. Disease, linked to high proviral load, occurs in a minority. In established infection HTLV-1 replicates through infectious spread and clonal expansion of infected lymphocytes. Little is known about acute HTLV-1 infection. The kinetics of early HTLV-1 infection, following transplantation-acquired infection in three recipients from one HTLV-1 infected donor, is reported. The recipients were treated with two HTLV-1 enzyme inhibitors 3 weeks post exposure following the detection of HTLV-1 provirus at low level in each recipient. HTLV-1 infection was serially monitored by serology, quantification of proviral load and HTLV-1 2LTR DNA circles and by HTLV-1 unique integration site analysis. Results: HTLV-1 antibodies were first detected 16-39 days post-transplantation. HTLV-1 provirus was detected by PCR on day 16-23 and increased by 2-3 log by day 38-45 with a peak proviral doubling time of 1.4 days, after which steady state was reached. The rapid proviral load expansion was associated with high frequency of HTLV-1 2LTR DNA circles. The number of HTLV-1 unique integration sites was high compared with established HTLV-1 infection. Clonal expansion of infected cells was detected as early as day 37 with high initial oligoclonality index, consistent with early mitotic proliferation. Conclusions: In recipients infected through organ transplantation HTLV-1 disseminated rapidly despite early anti-HTLV-1 treatment. Proviral load set point was reached within 6 weeks. Seroconversion was not delayed. Unique integration site analysis and HTLV-1 2LTR DNA circles indicated early clonal expansion and high rate of infectious spread.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 Cook et al.
- 2LTR DNA circles
- Organ transplantation
- Proviral load