HTLV-I-associated myelopathy endemic in Texas-born residents and isolation of virus from CSF cells

Robert R. McKendall, John Oas, Michael D. Lairmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We report three Texas-born patients with spastic paraparesis and well-documented infection with HTLV-I. CSF examination showed moderate pleocytosis, protein elevation, and elevated IgG index. Oligoclonal bands were present in two patients. On MRI, one patient had frontal lobe lesions that were low intensity on T1- and high intensity on T2-weighted images. HTLV-I immunoblot studies of serum and CSF revealed reactivity to p19, p24, p53, gp46, or gp68 from all three patients. Titration studies of serum and CSF antibodies on ELISA and immunoblot assays indicated an intrathecal virus-specific response. HTLV-I-specific p19 antigen capture assay and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) demonstrated HTLV-I in lymphocyte cultures derived from each patient's peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) or CSF cells. Using HTLV-I- and HTLV-II-specific primers, PCR studies of PBMC cells obtained directly from the patients demonstrated that the patients were infected with HTLV-I and not HTLV-II. These three cases are to our knowledge the only US cases in whom virus isolation from the CSF has been accomplished. Importantly, two patients may be the first US cases of myelopathy arising from endemic infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-836
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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