Natural history of viral markers in children infected with human T lymphotropic virus type I in Jamaica.
PURPOSE: We conducted a longitudinal analysis of human T lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) viral markers in 28 Jamaican mothers and their children, who were monitored for a median of 6.2 years after the birth of the children.
METHODS: The HTLV-I provirus DNA load was measured using the Taqman system (PE Applied Biosystems). The HTLV-I antibody titer was determined using the Vironstika HTLV-I/II Microelisa System (Organon Teknika). The HTLV-I Tax-specific antibody titers were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Generalized estimating equations were used to describe the associations of exposure variables with sequentially measured levels of HTLV-I viral markers in children.
RESULTS: The HTLV-I antibody titer increased significantly up to 1 year after infection, reaching equilibrium at a median titer of 1 : 7,786. The prevalence of Tax-specific antibody reached 80% at 2 years after infection. The provirus load increased up to 2 years after infection, reaching equilibrium at a median of 6,695 copies/100,000 peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The increase in the provirus load was significant only among children with eczema, but not among children without eczema.
CONCLUSIONS: The provirus loads in children increased for an additional year after their antibody titers had stabilized, possibly as a result of the expansion of HTLV-I-infected clones. This effect was significant only for children with eczema. Among HTLV-I-infected children, eczema may be a cutaneous marker of the risk of HTLV-I-associated diseases developing in adulthood.