Serum samples (n: 110) from blood donors and high risk individuals from Cordoba, Argentina with indeterminate HIV-1 and HTLV-I/II Wb profiles were studied for specific antibodies to HTLV-I/II and HIV-1 by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and for the presence or absence of HIV-1 and HTLV-I/II specific bands by Wb. This study was carried out in order to characterize their putative reactions with HIV-1 and HTLV-I/II proteins and to resolve the retrovirus infection status of these individuals. Results indicated that blood donors sera displaying indeterminate HIV-1 or HTLV-I/II Wb patterns were not immunoreactive to HTLV-I/II and HIV-1 on IFA. However, a high rate of indeterminate HIV-1 and HTLV-I/II Wb samples from high risk individuals had positive HTLV-I/II and HIV-1 IFA results respectively. Our study supports the growing evidence that HTLV-HIV indeterminate seroreactivity in low risk population is due to a cross reaction against nonviral antigens, and in high risk populations the indeterminate samples show serological cross-recognition between HIV-1 proteins and HTLV-I/II proteins on Wb. These results point out the necessity to investigate the HTLV-I/II reactivity in indeterminate HIV-1 samples and viceversa in order to confirm the diagnosis. Finally, this study shows the potential usefulness of IFA in elucidating the status of HIV-1 and HTLV-I/II infection of individuals with indeterminate Wb profiles, thus enabling resolution of retrovirus infection status.
Retroviruses; HIV-1; HTLV-I/II; Confirmatory testing; Indeterminate results; Western blot; Indirect immunofluorescence assay