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HIV-1 and HTLV-1 Transmission Modes: Mechanisms and Importance for Virus Spread.

Viruses 2022 January 15
So far, only two retroviruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (type 1 and 2) and human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), have been recognized as pathogenic for humans. Both viruses mainly infect CD4+ T lymphocytes. HIV replication induces the apoptosis of CD4 lymphocytes, leading to the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). After a long clinical latency period, HTLV-1 can transform lymphocytes, with subsequent uncontrolled proliferation and the manifestation of a disease called adult T-cell leukemia (ATLL). Certain infected patients develop neurological autoimmune disorder called HTLV-1-associated myelopathy, also known as tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Both viruses are transmitted between individuals via blood transfusion, tissue/organ transplantation, breastfeeding, and sexual intercourse. Within the host, these viruses can spread utilizing either cell-free or cell-to-cell modes of transmission. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms and importance of each mode of transmission for the biology of HIV-1 and HTLV-1.

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