Is there any association between human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection and Behcet’s disease?

Mohammad Javad Yazdanpanah; Mohammad Reza Hedayati-Moghaddam; Maryam Sahebari; Mahmoud Mahmoudi; Mehran Radfar; Elham Vosoughi; Habibollah Esmaily; Zahra Mirfeiz .

Rheumatology Research. 2018 Aug;3(4):404-414. DOI: 10.22631/rr.2018.69997.1054.

Both human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection and Behcet’s disease (BD) are common to a similar geographic area. Furthermore, some clinical presentations of BD and HTLV-1 infection, such as ocular lesions and neurologic involvement, are the same. The aim of this study was to assess a possible association between BD and HTLV-1 infection. In this case-control study, the HTLV-1 infection frequency in BD patients was compared with that for the general population. The case group consisted of 68 patients with a definite diagnosis of BD who referred to a research center at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in Mashhad, Iran. The control group consisted of 210 healthy individuals selected from the general population of Mashhad. The presence of HTLV antibodies in the sera was assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and the seroreactive samples were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. HTLV-1 infection was detected in 4.41% (3/68) and 1.43% (3/210) of cases and controls, respectively; however, the difference was not statistically significant (P value = 0.16).
The prevalence of HTLV1 infection in patients with BD was three-fold higher than in the general population, which suggests an association between these two conditions.

Keywords: Behcet’s disease; HTLV-1 infection; Prevalence; Case-control study