Mameli et al. Activation of MSRV-Type Endogenous Retroviruses during Infectious Mononucleosis and Epstein-Barr Virus Latency: The Missing Link with Multiple Sclerosis? PLoS One. 2013 Nov 13;8(11):e78474.
Background: The aetiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) is still unclear. The immuno-pathogenic phenomena leading to neurodegeneration are thought to be triggered by environmental (viral?) factors operating on predisposing genetic backgrounds. Among the proposed co-factors are the Epstein Barr virus (EBV), and the potentially neuropathogenic HERV-W/MSRV/Syncytin-1 endogenous retroviruses. The ascertained links between EBV and MS are history of late primary infection, possibly leading to infectious mononucleosis (IM), and high titres of pre-onset IgG against EBV nuclear antigens (anti-EBNA IgG). During MS, there is no evidence of MS-specific EBV expression, while a continuous expression of HERV-Ws occurs, paralleling disease behaviour. We found repeatedly extracellular HERV-W/MSRV and MSRV-specific mRNA sequences in MS patients (in blood, spinal fluid, and brain samples), and MRSV presence/load strikingly paralleled MS stages and active/remission phases.
Expression and Activation by Epstein Barr Virus of Human Endogenous Retroviruses-W in Blood Cells and Astrocytes: Inference for Multiple Sclerosis Giuseppe Mameli, Luciana Poddighe, Alessandra Mei, Elena Uleri, Stefano Sotgiu, Caterina Serra, Roberto Manetti, Antonina DoleiResearch Article | published 27 Sep 2012 | PLOS ONE10.1371/journal.pone.0044991