Key words Immunohistochemistry
reaction in situ hybridization
myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis
Fresh frozen sections
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract HTLV-I-infected cells play an important role in pathogenesis HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Our previous studies of quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and in situ PCR suggested that T cells infiltrating in the spinal cord lesion were infected with HTLV-I. To elucidate the localization of HTLV-I proviral DNA directly, we performed double staining using immunohistochemistry and PCR in situ hybridization (PCR-ISH). Fresh frozen sections of the spinal cord from four HAM patients taken at autopsy were first immunostained with antibodies to pan T cells (UCHL-1), macrophages (KP-1) and helper/inducer T cells (OPD4). Then PCR-ISH was carried out with specific primers and probe for the HTLV-I pX region. UCHL-1-positive cells were noted around perivascular areas and, to some extent, in the parenchyma. Of the UCHL-1-positive cells, 9.4% (case 1), 9.6% (case 2), 1.1% (case 3) and 6.7% (case 4) became positive in HTLV-I PCR-ISH. UCHL-1-negative cells were HTLV-I PCR-ISH negative and almost all KP-1-positive cells were HTLV-I negative. HTLV-I was localized to OPD4-positive cells in examined lesions of cases 2 and 4. These data are a direct demonstration of HTLV-I proviral DNA localizing to infiltrated T cells in HAM/ TSP spinal cord lesions.
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