Adv Rheumatol. 2022 Aug 9;62(1):31. doi: 10.1186/s42358-022-00259-y.
BACKGROUND: Joint pain in the absence or with little synovitis is observed in a large percentage of HTLV-1 infected subjects. As the virus infect CD4 + and CD8 + positive, macrophages and B cells an exaggerated production of pro-inflammatory cytokines is detected in these patients. However, the possible association of HTLV-1 infection with autoimmune diseases has not been documented definitively and the clinical characteristics of HTLV-1 associated arthropathy has not been defined. The objective this study is to describe clinic and radiographic features in HTLV-1-infected individuals with complaints of joint pain.
METHODS: Cross-sectional study enrolling HTLV-1-infected individuals with chronic joint pain, aged up to 75 years, both genders and seronegative controls with osteoarthritis. All participants underwent conventional radiography of the hips, knees and ankles.
RESULTS: Eighty-one HTLV-1 infected patients and 30 subjects with osteoarthritis participated in the study. Polyarticular and symmetrical arthritis prevailed in the HTLV-1 positive group (54%), while oligoarticular and asymmetrical (44%) were more common in controls (p < 0.05). The frequency of enthesophytes (90%) in HTLV-1-infected patients was greater than in the control group (73%) (p < 0.05). Radiographic features were similar in HTLV-1 carriers and in patients with probable or definite HTLV-1 associated myelopathy. The presence of enthesophytes in the absence of joint space reduction or osteophytes was only observed in HTLV-1-infected individuals (p < 0.001). Magnetic resonance imaging of the ankles of five HTLV-1-infected patients and five controls demonstrated a higher frequency of enthesitis, bursitis and osteitis in the HTLV-1 infected group.
CONCLUSION: HTLV-1-associated arthropathy is clinically characterized by symmetrical polyarthralgia and the main radiological finding is the presence of enthesophytes in the absence of osteophytes and joint space narrowing.