Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Infection Is a Risk Factor for Atherosclerosis

Hiroaki Takeoka, Yasuko Sagara, Seizaburo Ksashiwagi, Shigeki Nabeshima


Background: Infection, such as by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has been reported to cause atherosclerosis by inducing inflammation. Because human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus, as is HIV, we investigated the possible influence of HTLV-1 on the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis by use of established atherosclerosis parameters.

Methods: The study was done on Iki Island, Fukuoka, an area endemic for HTLV-1. The data of 1,424 residents who reported to an annual health check were available for analysis. Anti-HTLV-1 antibody status and factors associated with atherosclerosis were examined, including maximum intima-media thickness (Max-IMT) and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (PWV).

Results: HTLV-1 positive participants had significantly higher Max-IMT (1.15 0.55 vs. 1.08 0.61 mm, P = 0.04) and PWV (1,760.6 414.5 vs. 1,657.1 425.5 cm/s, P < 0.01) values than did those negative. Moreover, in multiple regression analysis (odds ratio: 1.39, P < 0.01) of participants with Max-IMT 1.1 mm or over, HTLV-1 was extracted as an independent factor for the development of atherosclerosis.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that HTLV-1 infection confers a high risk of atherosclerosis, although its opposite relation is also possible. It is important to carefully follow the health status of HTLV-1 carriers.

J Clin Med Res. 2021;13(3):164-169


HTLV-1; Atherosclerosis; IMT

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