Skip to main content

Advertisement

HTLV-1: a re-emerging human pathogen

Thematic Series

Edited by Genoveffa Franchini and Cynthia Masison.


We are proud to announce that "HTLV-1: a re-emerging human pathogen" is now open for submissions to Retrovirology. Articles on HTLV-1 replication, pathogenesis, treatment and prevention and identify essential areas of unmet need in HTLV-1 basic and translational research.


HTLV-1 is the only known retrovirus to directly cause cancer in humans. HTLV-1 discovered in the late seventy at the NIH in 1980, is transmitted through breast feeding, trans-placentally, sexually and by blood transfusion and organ transplants. HTLV-1 causes a lethal disease, Adult T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (ATLL), and a plethora of inflammatory conditions such as uveitis and dermatitis including the neurological degenerative condition designated as Tropical Spastic Paraparesis/HTLV-1 Associated Myelopathy (TSP/HAM) that results in paralysis of the lower limbs. HTLV-1 infection affects millions of people worldwide and currently there is neither targeted antiretroviral therapy nor a vaccine for HTLV-1.

There are several sub-types of HTLV-1. The most prevalent are HTLV-1 subtypes A and B that are found worldwide and are endemic in Japan, the Caribbean, South America and Africa. However, pockets of HTLV-1 infections have also been described in the United States, Iran, Romania and more recently in the UK. In contrast, HTLV-1C, found first in Melanesia in 1993, was described later in New Caledonia and Australia, appears limited to Oceania. It is estimated that HTLV-1C has evolved independently in remote indigenous populations of Oceania in the last 40,000 years.

The current prevalence of HTLV-1 infection in the world is not known, as the last large-scale epidemiological studies were performed more than 30 years ago. Recently, an extraordinarily high prevalence of HTLV-1C, up to 50% in both female and males, has been described in underserved communities in the Norther Territory of Australia. HTLV-1C infection is associated not only with ATLL and TSP/HAM but also with a high mortality at a young age (mid 40s), due to lung inflammation, bronchiectasis, and infectious diseases. By the age of 40, both sexes exhibit a 30-40% HTLV-1C seroprevalence.

Despite the serious health problem caused by infection with all HTLV-1 subtypes, infection by these viruses has become a neglected condition and only palliative treatments are available to the 10-20 million of HTLV-1 infected individuals living mostly in resource deprived countries. Furthermore, the serious medical condition associated with HTLV-1C infection in indigenous populations of Australia, highlights the urgent need to extend HTLV-1 research.

Research on HTLV-1, a virus that has adapted to humans since ancient time, has thought us unexpected novel viral strategies to hijack host cellular pathways in T-cells and to counteract immune responses. There is an urgent need to discover novel preventive or therapeutic remedies for this virus that may relieve not only the suffering of HTLV-1 infected individuals but also augment our understanding of other chronic infection with cancer viruses.

The recent awareness of the serious medical condition associated with HTLV-1C infection in indigenous populations of Australia, highlights the urgent need to revitalize  HTLV-1 research. Thus, the scope of this collection is to summarize what is known on HTLV-1 replication, pathogenesis, treatment and prevention and identify essential areas of unmet need in HTLV-1 basic and translational research.

Submit here to Retrovirology.

Click here for  the journal's submission guidelines.

  1. Content type: Review

    Human T-cell leukemia virus type-1 (HTLV-1) causes adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL), HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), and other inflammatory diseases. There is no diseas...

    Authors: Mari Kannagi, Atsuhiko Hasegawa, Yoshiko Nagano, Shuichi Kimpara and Youko Suehiro

    Citation: Retrovirology 2019 16:23

    Published on:

  2. Content type: Review

    Human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) was the first discovered human retrovirus and the etiologic agent of adult T-cell leukemia and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis. Shortly aft...

    Authors: Michael P. Martinez, Jacob Al-Saleem and Patrick L. Green

    Citation: Retrovirology 2019 16:21

    Published on: