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J Reprod Immunol. 2000 Jul;47(2):197-206.

HTLV-I transmission from mother to child.

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School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Kagoshima University, Japan. toshinet@health.nop.kagoshima-u-ac-jp


Human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I), a causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia, (ATL) is transmitted from mother to child. ATL cells originate from the CD4 subset of peripheral T cells. The main route of mother-to-child transmission is postnatal breast-feeding. Refraining from breast-feeding or limiting the duration of breast-feeding can reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission. Other than postnatal breast-feeding, there seem to be two routes of HTLV-I transmission from mother to child. One is intrauterine transmission, and the other is via saliva. Intrauterine transmission is rare, although proviral DNA is detected in cord blood samples. HTLV-I proviruses in the cord blood may be defective. HTLV-I proviral DNA and antibodies against HTLV-I are also detected in saliva. However, no report has been published so far which showed direct evidence of HTLV-I transmission via saliva. The placenta can be infected by HTLV-I, but infection does not reach the fetus, possibly apoptosis of placental villous cells because it is induced by HTLV-I infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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