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Antibody to Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Membrane Antigens, Beta2-Microglobulin Levels, and Thymosin Alpha1 Levels in Hemophiliacs and Their Spouses

JOAN K. KREISS, M.D.; DALE N. LAWRENCE, M.D.; CAROL K. KASPER, M.D.; ALLAN L. GOLDSTEIN, Ph.D.; PAUL H. NAYLOR, Ph.D.; MARY F. McLANE, B.S.; TUN-HOU LEE, D.Sc.; and MAX ESSEX, D.V.M., Ph.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: in part by the American Cancer Society (grant RD-173), the National Cancer Institute (grant CA 24974), Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., and Alpha 1 Biomedicals, Inc.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Joan Kreiss, M.D.; Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Office, B-973 Factor Building, UCLA Medical Center; Los Angeles, CA 90024.


Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; and Boston, Massachusetts


Ann Intern Med. 1984;100(2):178-182. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-100-2-178
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Recently, antibodies to human T-cell leukemia virus membrane antigens (HTLV-MA) and elevated levels of beta2-microglobulin and thymosin alpha1 have been found with high frequency in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Prospective studies of asymptomatic persons at high risk for this syndrome will ascertain whether any of these findings is a predictive marker for the disease. In this study, antibodies to HTLV-MA, beta2-microglobulin levels, and thymosin alpha1 levels were determined for a group of asymptomatic adult hemophiliacs and their wives. Five of thirty-nine hemophiliacs had HTLV-MA antibody, compared with none of 21 wives tested. The mean beta2-microglobulin level for hemophiliacs was significantly higher than the control value (p < 0.001), whereas the wives had a normal mean value. The mean thymosin alpha1 values were normal for hemophiliacs and their wives; however, 3 of 22 hemophiliacs and 1 of 16 wives had abnormally high levels. Whether any of these abnormalities correlate with subsequent development of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome will be ascertained by longitudinal follow-up of this population.

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