Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

CD25+CCR4+ cells as a marker of HTLV-1-infected cells in peripheral blood

The diagnosis of Human T cell Lymphotropic Virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection is based on serology and PCR. The burden of HTLV-1 viral infection is monitored by measuring the proviral load [PVL] in peripheral blood. This assay is not useful for isolation of HTLV-1-infected cells. HTLV-1 Tax upregulates CD25 expression on infected CD4+ T cells. However, CD4+CD25+ is also the phenotype of activated T cells. CCR4 is a chemokine receptor expressed on subsets of activated T cells. HTLV-1-infected cells secrete the CCR4 ligand CCL22, and preferentially infect CCR4+ Cells. We studied the expression of CD25 and CCR4 in lymphocytes and its relation to PVL. We performed 11-colour immunophenotyping and HTLV-1 PVL quantification on 53 samples obtained from 36 HTLV-1 infected patients, [10 asymptomatic carriers (AC); 11 patients with HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (HAM); 4 co-infected with HIV; 11 with chronic/smouldering adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma (ATL)] and 3 uninfected individuals. Increased frequency of CD25+CCR4+ T cells [median: 14.7%, range: 1.95-91.3%] was observed in all HTLV-1 infected patients; the frequency correlated with PVL [Spearman r=0.89, P <0.001, Linear R2 = 0.61]. CD4+ and CD8+ cells from 12 patients [6ACs and 6 HAMs] were separated for PVL estimation. CD25+ CCR4+ cell counts correlated closely with PVL in CD4+ cells [Spearman r=0.816, P <0.001, linear R2=0.886] but not in CD8+ cells. Frequency of CD25+CCR4+ T cells correlated with PVL change in treated ATL patients. We conclude that CD25+CCR4+ cells can be used as a specific marker for monitoring of HTLV-1 infection and isolation of HTLV-1 infected cells.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Huseini Kagdi.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kagdi, H., Melamed, A., Hilburn, S. et al. CD25+CCR4+ cells as a marker of HTLV-1-infected cells in peripheral blood. Retrovirology 11 (Suppl 1), P139 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: