Modelling Viral Persistence in the Presence of Host Immunity in Chronic HTLV-I Infection

7 June 2011

Human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) is a persistent human retrovirus characterised by a high proviral load and risk of developing ATL, an aggressive blood cancer, or HAM/TSP, a progressive neurological and inflammatory disease. Infected individuals typically mount a large, chronically activated HTLV-I-specific CTL response, yet the virus has developed complex mechanisms to evade host immunity and avoid viral clearance. Moreover, identification of determinants to the development of disease has thus far been elusive.

 This model is based on a recent experimental hypothesis for the persistence of HTLV-I infection and is a direct extension of the model studied by Li and Lim (2011). A four-dimensional system of ordinary differential equations is constructed that describes the dynamic interactions among viral expression, infected target cell activation, and the human immune response. Focussing on the particular roles of viral expression and host immunity in chronic HTLV-I infection offers important insights to viral persistence and pathogenesis.

  • Junior Applied Mathematics Seminar