More about pathogenic MSRV

For 25 years, successive and independent studies have established an association between the MSRV retrovirus and MS pathogenesis. Notably, the pro-inflammatory properties of the MSRV envelope protein (MSRV-Env) have been demonstrated in several independent in vitro and in vivo studies.
The gene encoding the MSRV-Env protein belongs to the HERV-W family of retroviral elements that are widely and heterogeneously dispersed in the human genome. HERV sequences represent up to 8% of the human genome and likely result from the integration of exogenous retroviruses that infected the human germ line during evolution.

The MSRV retrovirus is normally latent in the genome of individuals, but it can be re-activated by certain co-factors such as the herpes viruses. The question of its biological significance in physiology and disease is therefore of considerable interest. The ability of MSRV-Env to activate the innate immune system could play an important role in the immunopathogenesis of certain diseases, such as MS and other autoimmune disorders.