Neurological aspects of HTLV-1 infection: symptoms in apparently asymptomatic carriers

by | Apr 24, 2024 | Publications

J Neurovirol. 2024 Apr 23. doi: 10.1007/s13365-024-01197-9. Online ahead of print.


Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is classically associated with the HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), although the mechanisms of this neurological disorder remain unclear. In addition, some patients who develop “minor” neurological signs that do not meet diagnostic criteria for HAM/TSP are classified as asymptomatic carriers. This study aims to demonstrate the neurological symptoms of Brazilian patients living with HTLV-1 classified as not-HAM.TSP. This observational study evaluated patients treated in an HTLV reference center in Bahia, Brazil, between February 2022 and July 2023. The data were obtained through the analysis of medical records and neurological consultation. Those individuals classified as HAM/ TSP were excluded from this study. 74 patients were submitted to a careful neurological evaluation: 23 HAM/TSP, 22 were classified with intermediate syndrome (IS), and 29 were oligosymptomatic. Self-reported symptoms were significantly more common in the IS group, including urinary symptoms such as nocturia, urgency, incontinence, dysuria, weakness, paresthesia, lumbar pain, xerostomia, and xerophthalmia. Physical examination findings consistent with reduced vibratory and tactile sensitivity were more common in the IS group (p = 0.017 and p = 0.013). Alterations in the V and VIII cranial nerves were present in both groups. HTLV-1 can lead to the development of important neurological signs and symptoms in apparently asymptomatic individuals. This data highlights the need for more research into the neurological aspects of HTLV-1 infection and emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis, treatment, and support for individuals living with this virus.

PMID:38653958 | DOI:10.1007/s13365-024-01197-9

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