The Etiology of Multiple Sclerosis: Genetic Evidence for the Involvement of the Human Endogenous Retrovirus HERV-Fc1

The Etiology of Multiple Sclerosis: Genetic Evidence for the Involvement of the Human Endogenous Retrovirus HERV-Fc1

Nexø BA, Christensen T, Frederiksen J, Møller-Larsen A, Oturai AB, et al.

PLoS ONE 6(2): e16652. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.001

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We have investigated the role of human endogenous retroviruses in multiple sclerosis by analyzing the DNA of patients and controls in 4 cohorts for associations between multiple sclerosis and polymorphisms near viral restriction genes or near endogenous retroviral loci with one or more intact or almost-intact genes. We found that SNPs in the gene TRIM5 were inversely correlated with disease. Conversely, SNPs around one retroviral locus, HERV-Fc1, showed a highly significant association with disease. The latter association was limited to a narrow region that contains no other known genes. We conclude that HERV-Fc1 and TRIM5 play a role in the etiology of multiple sclerosis. If these results are confirmed, they point to new modes of treatment for multiple sclerosis.

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