Expert Rev Neurother. 2023 Nov 7:1-16. doi: 10.1080/14737175.2023.2272639. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Nearly 2-3% of those 10 to 20 million individuals infected with the Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1); are predisposed to developing HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). It is a neuro-inflammatory disease; differentiated from multiple sclerosis based on the presence of typical neurologic symptoms, confirmation of HTLV-1 infection, and other molecular biomarkers.
AREAS COVERED: A brief review of the epidemiology, host immune responses, and molecular pathogenesis of HAM/TSP is followed by detailed discussions about the host-related risk factors for developing HAM/TSP and success/failure stories of the attempted management strategies.
EXPERT OPINION: Currently, there is no effective treatment for HAM/TSP. Anti-retroviral therapy, peculiar cytokines (IFN-α), some anti-oxidants, and allograft bone marrow transplantation have been used for treating these patients with limited success. Under current conditions, asymptomatic carriers should be examined periodically by a neurologist for early signs of spinal cord injury. Then it is crucial to determine the progress rate to adapt the best management plan for each patient. Corticosteroid therapy is most beneficial in those with acute myelitis. However, slow-progressing patients are best managed using a combination of symptomatic and physical therapy. Additionally, preventive measures should be taken to decrease further spread of HTLV-1 infection.