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Epidemiological determinants and PCR results in Central African inhabitants with a new and frequent HTLV indeterminate Western Blot pattern exhibiting mostly p28, p32, p36, and a shifted GD21

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HTLV indeterminate WB patterns are frequently observed in plasma/serum samples from persons living in intertropical areas.

Material and methods

In the framework of ongoing projets on HTLV-1/2 and related viruses in central Africa, we systematically analysed by WB, plasma from villagers living in south Cameroun. The studied group included 2155 individuals (mean age 44, range 2-90, 982 women/1173 men), either Bantous (1258) or Pygmies (897). All plasma samples were tested by WB (HTLV 2-4 MPD) with interpretation done according to manufacturer instructions. Only clear bands were considered as positive/informative. DNA extracted from buffy-coat were subjected to PCR using several primer pairs known to detect HTLV-1/2/3/4. Positive PCR bands were sequenced.


Among the 2155 plasma samples, 48 were HTLV-1, 20 HTLV-2, and 134 HTLV. Furthermore, 955 were indeterminate including 100 HGIP (HTLV-I Gag-indeterminate pattern) [1], and 57 with a peculiar pattern exhibiting mostly p28, p32, p36, and a shifted GD21. The other samples were either WB negative (998) or exhibited mostly faint or unique p19 or p24 bands. Most HTLV-1 samples and some HTLV were found PCR positive. In contrast, all the others (HTLV-2, HGIP, new WB pattern and other indeterminate) were found PCR negative except in one case of a HTLV-3 infection [2]. Epidemiological determinants of the persons with this new pattern were different from those with HTLV-1.


Search for the origin of this frequent new WB is ongoing with special insights concerning cross-reactivities with parasitic antigens as suggested for the HGIP pattern [3].


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    Mauclère P, Le Hesran JY, Mahieux R, Salla R, Mfoupouendoun J, Abada ET, Millan J, de Thé G, Gessain A: Demographic, ethnic, and geographical differences between human T cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) type I-seropositive carriers and persons with HTLV-I Gag-indeterminate Western blots in Central Africa. J Infect Dis. 1997, 176 (2): 505-509.

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    Calattini S, Betsem E, Bassot S, Chevalier SA, Mahieux R, Froment A, Gessain A: New strain of human T lymphotropic virus (HTLV) type 3 in a Pygmy from Cameroon with peculiar HTLV serologic results. J Infect Dis. 2009, 199 (4): 561-564. 10.1086/596206.

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    Mahieux R, Horal P, Mauclère P, Mercereau-Puijalon O, Guillotte M, Meertens L, Murphy E, Gessain A: Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 gag indeterminate western blot patterns in Central Africa: relationship to Plasmodium falciparum infection. J Clin Microbiol. 2000, 38 (11): 4049-4057.

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Correspondence to Claudia Filippone.

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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.

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About this article


  • Western Blot
  • Infectious Disease
  • Cancer Research
  • Primer Pair
  • Plasma Sample