Endogenous Retroviruses and Multiple Sclerosis

New Pieces to the Puzzle

Kari K Nissen; Magdalena J Laska; Bettina Hansen; Thorkild Terkelsen; Palle Villesen; Shervin Bahrami; Thor Petersen; Finn S Pedersen; Bjørn A Nexø

Disclosures

BMC Neurol. 2013;13(111) 

In This Article

Abstract

The possibility that retroviruses play a role in multiple sclerosis (MS) has long been considered; accumulating findings suggest this to be most likely in the form of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). A genetic test series of fifty endogenous retroviral loci for association with MS in Danes showed SNP markers near a specific endogenous retroviral locus, HERV-Fc1 located on the X-chromosome, to be positive. Bout Onset MS was associated with the HERV-Fc1 locus, while a rarer form, Primary Progressive MS, was not. Moreover, HERV-Fc1 Gag RNA in plasma was increased 4-fold in patients with recent history of attacks, relative to patients in a stable state and to healthy controls.

Finally, genetic variations in restriction genes for retroviruses influence the risk of MS, providing further support for a role of retroviral elements in disease.

We speculate that endogenous retroviruses may activate the innate immune system in a variety of ways, involving the host proteins, TRIMs, TLRs, TREXs and STING. Observations in HIV-positive patients suggest that antiretroviral drugs can curb MS. Thus, these new findings regarding the etiology and pathogenesis of MS, suggest alternative ways to challenge autoimmune diseases.

Comments

3090D553-9492-4563-8681-AD288FA52ACE

processing....