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Transfusion. 2004 Jan;44(1):42-8.

Evaluation of HTLV-I removal by filtration of blood cell components in a routine setting.

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  • 1Laboratory of Virology and Immunology and Hemovigilance Unit, University Hospital Center of Fort-de-France, Martinique.



WBC depletion by filtration may prevent the transmission of HTLV-I, which requires cell-to-cell contact. The removal of HTLV-I-infected cells in routinely filtered blood cell components was measured.


The study was conducted in Martinique where systematic screening for HTLV-I and -II and universal leukoreduction are mandatory. HTLV-I was quantified by use of real-time PCR in 8 RBC units and 4 PLT concentrates before and after filtration. HTLV-I proviral load in PBMNCs was determined in five of the eight HTLV-I-infected blood donors.


The amount of MNC-associated HTLV-I DNA in RBC units before filtration was 21 x 10(6)+/- 29 x 10(6) copies (mean +/- SD). HTLV-I was detected in 4 of 8 RBC units after filtration, with a number of copies in the MNC fraction ranging from 20 to 140, following a 4.9 to 5.8 log reduction. Flow cytometry analysis performed in 2 of the filtered RBC units containing detectable HTLV-I showed suboptimal and out-of-range leukoreduction (0.56 x 10(6) and 1.22 x 10(6) residual WBCs). HTLV was not detected in filtered RBCs from the blood donor with the highest percentage of HTLV-I-infected PBMCs (9%).


This study confirms that HTLV-I-infected cells can be detected in filtered blood cell components and shows that optimal leukoreduction is critical for HTLV-I removal.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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