It has been suggested that Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) pathogenesis. The objective of this study was to broadly evaluate the expression of HERV core (GAG) and envelope (ENV) genes in diseased brain white matter samples from MS patients compared to normal controls.
Twenty-eight HERV GAG and 88 ENV gene sequences were retrieved, classified by phylogeny, and grouped into clades. Consensus qPCR primers were designed for each clade, and quantitative PCR was performed on 33 MS and 9 normal control frozen brain samples. MS samples included chronic progressive (n=5), primary progressive (n=4), secondary progressive (n=14), relapsing remitting (n=3) and unclassified confirmed MS cases (n=7). The levels of GAG and ENV RNA within each of the samples were quantitated and normalized using the neuronal reference gene RPL19. Expression differences were analyzed for MS vs control.
Expression of GAG clades 1A, 3B, and 3C mapping to HERV-E and HERV-K were significantly increased compared to controls, while GAG clade 3A expression was decreased. Expression of HERV ENV clades 2, 3A, 3B, mapping to RTVL, HERV-E and HERV-K and MSRV (HERV-W), were significantly increased in the MS group. However, the relative expression differences between the MS and control groups were small, differing less than 1.5-fold.
Expression of GAG and ENV mapping to HERV-E, RTVL and HERV-K10 families were significantly increased in the MS group. However, the relative expression differences between the MS and control groups were small, differing less than 1.5-fold. These results indicate that the expression of HERV GAG and ENV regions do not differ greatly between MS and controls in these frozen brain samples.
Although you have still yet to see the results as the ProfG have not got their act together, the aim of the Charcot project trial, INSPIRE, was to target human endogenous retrovirus. We all have bits of virus in our genome and that is why we call them endogenous. They are retro-viruses because they reverse transcribe their RNA in to DNA to then reproduce if they become active, by using the machinery of the cell. In this study they can find evidence of viral infection in MS tissue but there is not much of it. Is this why the trial of the anti-HERV antibody has not been positive. I bet the “Men in Grey” are so happy they selected the trial for the late breaking news session….Not
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