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J Virol. 2004 Oct;78(19):10320-7.

Direct evidence for a chronic CD8+-T-cell-mediated immune reaction to tax within the muscle of a human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type 1-infected patient with sporadic inclusion body myositis.

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  • 1Unité d'Epidémiologie et Physiopathologie des Virus Oncogènes, Paris, France.


Human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection can lead to the development of HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), concomitantly with or without other inflammatory disorders such as myositis. These pathologies are considered immune-mediated diseases, and it is assumed that migration within tissues of both HTLV-1-infected CD4(+) T cells and anti-HTLV-1 cytotoxic T cells represents a pivotal event. However, although HTLV-1-infected T cells were found in inflamed lesions, the antigenic specificity of coinfiltrated CD8(+) T cells remains to be determined. In this study, we performed both ex vivo and in situ analyses using muscle biopsies obtained from an HTLV-1-infected patient with HAM/TSP and sporadic inclusion body myositis. We found that both HTLV-1-infected CD4(+) T cells and CD8(+) T cells directed to the dominant Tax antigen can be amplified from muscle cell cultures. Moreover, we were able to detect in two successive muscle biopsies both tax mRNA-positive mononuclear cells and T cells recognized by the Tax11-19/HLA-A*02 tetramer and positive for perforin. These findings provide the first direct demonstration that anti-Tax cytotoxic T cells are chronically recruited within inflamed tissues of an HTLV-1 infected patient, which validates the cytotoxic immune reaction model for the pathogenesis of HTLV-1-associated inflammatory disease.

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