A new and frequent human T-cell leukemia virus indeterminate Western blot pattern: epidemiological determinants and PCR results in central African inhabitants.
Human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV) indeterminate Western blot (WB) serological patterns are frequently observed in plasma/serum from persons living in intertropical areas. In the framework of ongoing projects on HTLV-1/2 and related viruses in Central Africa, we systematically analyzed plasma from villagers living in South Cameroon by WB. The group included 1,968 individuals (mean age, 44 years; age range, 5 to 90 years; 978 women/990 men), both Bantus (1,165) and Pygmies (803). Plasma samples were tested by WB analysis (MPD HTLV Blot 2.4) and interpreted according to the manufacturers instructions. Only clear bands were considered in the analysis. Among the 1,968 plasma samples, 38 (1.93%) were HTLV-1, 13 (0.66%) were HTLV-2, and 6 (0.3%) were HTLV WB seropositive. Furthermore, 1,292 (65.65%) samples were WB sero-indeterminate, including 104 (5.28%) with an HTLV-1 Gag-indeterminate pattern (HGIP) and 68 (3.45%) with a peculiar yet unreported pattern exhibiting mostly a strong shifted GD21 and a p28. The other 619 (31.45%) samples were either WB negative or exhibited other patterns, mostly with unique p19 or p24 bands. DNA, extracted from peripheral blood buffy coat, was subjected to PCR using several primer pairs known to detect HTLV-1/2/3/4. Most DNAs from HTLV-1- and HTLV-seropositive individuals were PCR positive. In contrast, all the others, from persons with HTLV-2, HGIP, new WB, and other indeterminate patterns, were PCR negative. Epidemiological determinant analysis of the persons with this new peculiar WB pattern revealed that seroprevalence was independent from age, sex, or ethnicity, thus resembling the indeterminate profile HGIP rather than HTLV-1. Moreover, this new pattern persists over time.