Tropical spastic paraparesis is a still incompletely understood neurologic disorder caused by human T-cell lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1), with a mean onset of symptoms in the fourth and fifth decade of life. Gait instability, sensory deficits, weakness, spasticity, and back pain are main findings. The diagnosis is mainly based on history, clinical findings, and the detection of specific antibodies through serological studies.
Tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP) stems from an infection by the human T-cell lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1)    . The condition has been recognized throughout all parts of the world but is most prevalent in Caribbean islands, South America, Africa, and in Japan    . The clinical presentation has been well-described in the literature but the diagnosis is delayed for years in many patients . Patients are mainly diagnosed in their fourth and fifth decade of life and the main manifestation is spastic paraparesis accompanied by impaired sphincter control and paresthesias   . Constipation, weakness of lower extremities, hyperreflexia, pain in the lumbar region, gait disturbances that often require a need for assisting devices (some patients may be in wheelchairs or bedridden), as well as sexual dysfunction, are accompanying features of tropical spastic paraparesis   . For this reason, the term HTLV-1 associated myelopathy (HAM) is also used to describe TSP . Less common findings are nystagmus and atrophy of the optic nerve . A slowly progressive course is observed in the majority of individuals, but severe neurological disability developing within a period of a few years is encountered in approximately 20% of patients  .
Entire Body System
Danazol is an attenuated androgen with minimal virilizing effects. It is used in the treatment of endometriosis and various autoimmune hematologic diseases shown to be responsive to prednisone. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
- Mobility Impairment
All patients presented with long-term mobility impairment with a DSS score (expanded disability status scale) of between 5 and 7.5. VPA was administrated orally at a maximal dose of 20 mg/kg/day. [bloodjournal.org]
- Lower Extremity Pain
Conversely, descriptors for lower extremities pain suggest a neuropathic origin. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Liver, Gall & Pancreas
Here, we described the clinical presentations, muscle biopsy studies and laboratory results of two siblings with HTLV-1-associated myelopathy / tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) who were affected with lumbar lordosis. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
- Scissoring Gait
At the age of 32, the gait disturbance improved during her second pregnancy, but became worse after delivery and eventually resulted in a scissoring gait. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Infective dermatitis associated to the HTLV-I (IDH) is a chronic eczema of childhood occurring in vertically infected carriers. Here we describe a 7-year-old boy with HAM/TSP and IDH. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Miyamura et al (2009) reported on a female patient who developed ATL along with chronic refractory eczema and corneal injury. She was subsequently treated with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. [emedicine.medscape.com]
Successful treatment of young-onset adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma and preceding chronic refractory eczema and corneal injury by allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Int J Hematol. 2009 Aug 25. [Medline]. Willems L. [emedicine.com]
ATLL is a mature CD4 CD25 CCR4 T-cell neoplasm, and approximately half of patients have direct skin involvement manifesting patch, plaque, tumor, multiple papules, erythroderma and purpura. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Face, Head & Neck
Our results identify the cytoplasmic localization of HBZ in HAM/TSP patient as a possible biomarker of this rather neglected tropical disease, and raise important hypotheses on the role of HBZ in the pathogenesis of the neuromyelopathy associated to HTLV [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Loading metrics Citation: Casseb J (2009) Is Human T Cell Lymphotropic Type 1 (HTLV-1)-Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis (HAM/TSP) Syndrome a Neglected Disease? PLoS Negl Trop Dis 3(11): e487. [journals.plos.org]
The differential diagnosis of tropical spastic paraparesis is quite broad and includes multiple sclerosis (MS), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated myelopathy, motor neuron disease (MND), hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), CNS tumors, and many other inflammatory and neurodegenerative conditions . Thus, it is of critical importance to obtain a detailed patient history that will assess the onset and progression of symptoms and perform a thorough physical examination, particularly focused on the neurological exam. Laboratory studies, however, are necessary to make a definite diagnosis of tropical spastic paraparesis. Findings from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) evaluation are nonspecific but CSF, as well as serum, should be used for detecting HTLV-1 specific IgG antibodies through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) . Western blot analysis may be used for a confirmation of the diagnosis , whereas the detection of HTLV-1 viral load carried out by molecular laboratory studies might be useful for prognostic purposes  . Electromyography (EMG) shows normal results in the peripheral nerves, which might be one of the main discriminating features of tropical spastic paraparesis . Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is of limited benefit for identifying TSP  .
- Lymphocytic Infiltrate
Magnetic resonance imaging revealed multiple spotty lesions in the cervical spinal cord, probably reflecting pathological changes known as perivascular lymphocytic infiltrations of the spinal cord. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Akizuki et al demonstrated perivascular lymphocytic infiltration in the CNS, suggesting that vasculitis is an important pathological feature of TSP/HAM. 24 This may explain the diffuse nature of such lesions, suggesting that TSP/HAM is in fact a chronic [jnnp.bmj.com]
The lesions are associated with perivascular and mild parenchymal lymphocytic infiltration with the presence of foamy macrophages, proliferation of astrocytes, and fibrillary gliosis. [dx.doi.org]
The other markers studied had no significant changes after treatment. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Other features may include urinary incontinence and minor sensory changes, especially burning or prickling sensations and loss of vibration sense.  The reason some people with HTLV-1 infection develop HAM/TSTP is not well understood.  Treatment [rarediseases.info.nih.gov]
Their prognosis improves if they take steps to prevent urinary tract infection and skin sores, and if they participate in physical and occupational therapy programs. Prognosis HAM/TSP is a progressive disease, but it is rarely fatal. [ninds.nih.gov]
HTLV-1 is the etiological agent of mainly two severe diseases: a malignant T CD4( ) cell lymphoproliferation, of very poor prognosis, named Adult T cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (ATLL), and a chronic neuro-myelopathy named Tropical spastic paraparesis/HTLV-1 [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
The prognosis for Tropical spastic paraparesis indicates some improvement in a percentage of cases due to immunosuppressive treatment. A higher percentage will eventually lose the ability to walk within a ten-year interval. [en.wikipedia.org]
The lack of adequate communication with this patient and her family over several hospitalizations initially resulted in a care plan that was not aligned with the patient’s values and understanding of her prognosis. [omicsonline.org]
A further combination of valproic acid and zidovudine has demonstrated a decrease in proviral loads (in animals).  Prognosis The prognosis for Tropical spastic paraparesis indicates some improvement in a percentage of cases due to immunosuppressive [like2do.com]
Abstract Human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a human retrovirus etiologically associated with adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
There is only symptomatic treatment for inflammation and spasticity, but no specific etiologic treatment. [medlink.com]
Abstract This study aimed to introduce clinical manifestations of patients in northeast Iran with HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) and describe the epidemiological features, as well as risk factors for HTLV-1 infection [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
In a study in Martinique looking at the epidemiology of adult T-cell leukaemia, 59% of those patients who had TSP were found to have antibodies to HTLV-1, as opposed to 13% of controls. [ 2 ] Since then, several other studies have confirmed these findings [patient.info]
This review summarizes current clinical and pathophysiological knowledge on HAM/TSP and discusses future focus areas for research on this disease. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
M.D.  Synonyms and Keywords: Tropical spastic paraplegia Overview Historical Perspective Classification Pathophysiology Causes Differentiating Tropical spastic paraparesis from other Diseases Epidemiology and Demographics Risk Factors Natural History [wikidoc.org]
"Clinical Pathophysiology of Human T-Lymphotropic Virus-Type 1-Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis". Frontiers in Microbiology. 3 : 389. doi : 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00389. PMC 3494083. PMID 23162542. Ali, A (2006). [like2do.com]
Clinical pathophysiology of human T-lymphotropic virus-type 1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis. Front. Microbiol. 3, 389 (2012). 197. Ghai, A., Garg, N., Hooda, S. & Gupta, T. [nature.com]
Orientation and prevent transmission of HTLV programs are needed. Currently, preventing HTLV-1 transmission is the most effective way to reduce the impact of HAM/TSP on society. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Their prognosis improves if they take steps to prevent urinary tract infection and skin sores, and if they participate in physical and occupational therapy programs. [ninds.nih.gov]
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- Bagnato F, Butman JA, Mora CA, et al. Conventional magnetic resonance imaging features in patients with tropical spastic paraparesis. J Neurovirol. 2005;11(6):525-534.
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- Casseb J. Is Human T Cell Lymphotropic Type 1 (HTLV-1)-Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis (HAM/TSP) Syndrome a Neglected Disease? Brooker S, ed. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2009;3(11):e487.
- Proietti FA, Carneiro-Proietti AB, Catalan-Soares BC, Murphy EL. Global epidemiology of HTLV-I infection and associated diseases. Oncogene. 2005;24:6058–6068.
- Oh U, Jacobson S. Treatment of HTLV-I-Associated Myelopathy / Tropical Spastic Paraparesis: Towards Rational Targeted Therapy. Neurol Clin. 2008;26(3):781-x.
- Zunt J, Montano S, Beck I, et al. Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1–associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis: Viral load and muscle tone are correlated. J Neurovirol. 2006;12(6):466-471.