The immunopathology of human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-I) uveitis was addressed by using T cell clones (TCC) established from the intraocular fluid of patients with HTLV-I uveitis. Proviral DNA of HTLV-I was identified in 55 out of 94 (59%) or 13 out of 36 (36%) TCC from the ocular fluid or the peripheral blood of these patients, respectively. Most of HTLV-I-infected TCC had a CD3+ CD4+ CD8- phenotype. HTLV-I infection on TCC was confirmed by analysis of the viral mRNA, nucleotide sequence, virus-associated proteins, and virus particles. HTLV-I-infected TCC, but not HTLV-I negative TCC, constitutively produced high amounts of IL-6 (1,336 +/- 1,050 pg/ml) and TNF-alpha (289 +/- 237 pg/ml) in the absence of any stimuli. HTLV-I-infected TCC from the ocular lesion also constitutively produced high amounts of IL-1 alpha (12,699 pg/ml), IL-2 (61 pg/ml), IL-3 (428 pg/ml), IL-8 (1,268 pg/ml), IL-10 (28 pg/ml), IFN-gamma (5,095 pg/ml), and GM-CSF (2,886 pg/ml). Hydrocortisone, a drug effective in vivo for the treatment of HTLV-I uveitis, severely depressed cytokine production in vitro in most cases. In summary, the results demonstrated direct evidence of HTLV-I infection of the eye and suggest that cytokines produced by HTLV-I-infected T cells are responsible for the intraocular inflammation in patients with HTLV-I uveitis.
K Sagawa, M Mochizuki, K Masuoka, K Katagiri, T Katayama, T Maeda, A Tanimoto, S Sugita, T Watanabe, K Itoh