• human T-cell lymphotropic virus;
  • oral manifestations;
  • xerostomia;
  • HTLV-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis

Oral Diseases (2010) 16, 167–171

Objective:  Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) was the first human retrovirus discovered and its pathogenesis is related to T cells infection. This study aimed to verify the presence of oral manifestations in a Brazilian population of patients who was seropositive for HTLV, and identify risk factors for oral manifestations.

Subjects and methods:  An assessment was made of 139 patients at the Emilio Ribas Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Results:  A total of 112 (80.5%) patients were HTLV-1, 26 (18.7%) were HTLV-2+. About 35.2% of patients had myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), with 48 of them being HTLV-1+ and one patient was seropositive for HTLV-1 and -2. The most common oral manifestations were: xerostomia (26.8%), candidiasis (20.8%), fissured tongue (17.9%), and loss of tongue papillae (10.0%). A multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that HAM/TSP is an independent risk factor for xerostomia (P = 0.02). The patients who were HAM/TSP+ were three times more likely to develop xerostomia when compared with patients without HAM/TSP (odds ratio = 2.69, 95% confidence interval = 1.17–6.17).

Conclusion:  Despite the fact that the findings of this study suggest a relationship between xerostomia and HAM/TSP, more studies should be developed to show what the association would be between xerostomia presented by HTLV patients and pathogenesis of the virus.