Human endogenous retroviruses are ancient fragments of viral DNA which have become part of our own DNA, and have been linked to the development of MS. So have various herpes viruses. This team has discovered that even inactive herpes viruses can activate these ancient genes in white blood cells. Herpes simplex -1, (the cold sore virus), and human herpes virus -6 produce a time-limited response, while the Varicella-zoster virus, (chicken pox/ shingles), produces a sustained response.
Activation of endogenous retrovirus reverse transcriptase in multiple sclerosis patient lymphocytes by inactivated HSV-1, HHV-6 and VZV.
J Neuroimmunol. 2007 May 8;
Authors: Brudek T, Lühdorf P, Christensen T, Hansen HJ, Møller-Larsen A
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) and herpesviruses have been associated with the development of multiple sclerosis (MS). These virus groups interact with each other and have been shown to induce synergistic immune responses. Here, we focus on the possible role of herpesviruses as contributing factors in HERV activation. We demonstrate the ability of HSV-1, HHV-6, and VZV antigens to induce higher RT activity in peripheral lymphocytes from MS patients vs. controls during the first 6 days post-antigen stimulation. On subsequent days, only VZV can sustain the increase in the RT expression in cells from MS patients. The RT induction does not depend on herpes replication.
PMID: 17493688 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]