Nicanor Mori, MD, MPH

Nominated From: University of WashingtonResearch Site: Peru

Research Area: Neuroepidemiology – Chronic Infectious Diseases

Primary mentor: Joe Zunt

Research Project

Helminthic Infection and its Influence in Immune Responses and Neurological Outcome in Human T Cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) Type 1 and 2 Carriers from Shipibo – Konibo Communities

Infection with Human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) has been associated with an exacerbated type 1 immune response and secretion of high levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as interferon (IFN)-γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, which may be responsible for the neurologic manifestations. In contrast, helminthic infection induces a type 2 immune response characterized for production of high levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10 and low levels of IFN-γ. Previous studies have shown that helminthic infections may downregulate both Th1 and Th2 responses attenuating chronic inflammatory diseases. Interestingly, a higher prevalence of helminthic coinfection has been observed among HTLV-1 positive individuals. Previous studies have been identified Shipibo-Konibo as a community with a high prevalence of HTLV-1 infection ranging from 9.1 to 10.7% depending on the population screened.

Our aim is to compare, the cytokine profile as well as the neurological outcome in HTLV-1 carriers coinfected with helminths with that in HTLV-1 carriers not coinfected with helminths.


Research Significance

HTLV-1 is recognized as the etiological agent of two distinct types of disease: adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and a chronic inflammatory disease known as HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Although the factors that trigger disease expression have not been elucidated fully, interactions between host genetic and immune factors, as well as viral factors, are clearly important in the pathogenesis.

From a Global Health point of view, this population is chronically infected with helminths. This study will provide them an appropriate diagnosis as well as an adequate treatment which help them to improve their health status.


Advice for Potential Applicants

Conduct research studies designed in function of limited resources and the benefit of vulnerable populations respecting their customs.




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