Abstract The levels of interleukin-12 (IL-12) (p70 heterodimer), total IL-12 (p70 heterodimer plus p40 chains), interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) as Th1 cytokine, and those of interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) as Th2 cytokines in sera and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from 22 patients with human T lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I)-associated myelopathy (HAM) were compared with those of 22 patients with other neurological diseases (OND), including nine anti-HTLV-I-seropositive carriers. Both serum IL-12 (total and p70 heterodimer) and CSF IFN-γ, measured by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), were significantly elevated in patients with HAM as compared to the patients with OND, including the anti-HTLV-I-seropositive carriers. Serum IFN-γ also was significantly elevated in the HAM patients as compared to the controls. There was no significant difference in the CSF levels of IL-12 (total and p70 heterodimer) between the HAM patients and controls, whereas, for the Th2 cytokines IL-4 was detected in the CSF of four anti-HTLV-I-seropositive carriers of the 13 control patients but not in any of the patients with HAM. No significant difference was found in the serum levels of IL-4 and IL-10, nor in the CSF levels of IL-10 in the patients with HAM and in the controls. These findings indicate that in patients with HAM, the immunological balance of helper T lymphocytes between Th1 and Th2 is toward Th1 in the periphery and that Th1-mediated immunological status in the central nervous system is involved in the pathogenesis of HAM.