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Mechanism and risk factors involved in the mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HTLV-1 infection in Brazil

Grant number: 22/06636-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2022
Effective date (End): October 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Immunology
Principal Investigator:Jorge Simão do Rosário Casseb
Grantee:Gabriela da Silva Prates
Supervisor: Guochun Jiang
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:19/25511-4 - Potential risk and protection factors involved in HTLV-1 vertical transmission, BP.DR


Brazil is highly endemic for human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and accounts for nearly more than one in ten infections in the world (almost one million). Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HTLV is the principal transmission route and causes lifelong infection, high morbidity, high mortality disease including Adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (HAM) can be developed in nearly <10% of HTLV carrier, with a high risk with infection early in life. To date, there is no cure for HTLV infection. Prevention of MTCT is expected to reduce both the incidence of HTLV-1 and the burden of HTLV-1 associated diseases. To successfully achieve the prevention of HTLV MTCT, studies are required to elucidate the different manners of MTCT and all the variables involved in this route of infection. Although breast-feeding is considered as the major form of mother-to-child viral transmission (MTCT), some exclusively formula-fed infants still remain seropositive with a frequency of 3.3% to 12.8%, suggesting the presence of alternative vertical transmission routes. MTCT of HTLV might occur in utero during pregnancy. In contrast to vertical transmission via breast milk, which can be effectively controlled by limiting breastfeeding, strategies to prevent HTLV in utero transmission are not available. The objectives are to verify HTLV-1 proteins that regulate the trophoblasts cell infection and the role of syncytin in HTLV infection in trophoblasts, such as check the susceptibility of trophoblasts in different gestational trimesters. (AU)

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