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

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


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.

TidsskriftBMC Neurology
Sider (fra-til)111
Antal sider5
StatusUdgivet - 2013
Udgivet eksterntJa


Nissen, K. K., Laska, M. J., Hansen, B., Terkelsen, T., Villesen, P., Bahrami, S., Petersen, T., Pedersen, F. S., & Nexø, B. A. (2013). Endogenous retroviruses and multiple sclerosis-new pieces to the puzzle. BMC Neurology, 13, 111. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2377-13-111