Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre
  • Home
  • MSRC Grand Opening 30/05/12
  • About MS
  • MSRC Services
  • Get Involved
  • MS Research News
  • MSRC Groups
  • Useful Resources
  • Welcome To Josephs Court, MS Centre Of Excellence
  • Advertising
  • Best Bet Diet Group
  • E-Newsletter
  • Contact Us
  • Investor in People
    You are here : Home » MS Research News » New Discoveries » HERV-Fc1

    HERV-Fc1

    A A A
    [Print this page]

    Share |


    Could a virus be the cause of MS?

    MS GeneticsMight some forms of neurological illness, such as multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia, be caused at least partly by bacteria, viruses or other parasites? A largely Danish team has recently published evidence of a strong association between multiple sclerosis and a retrovirus, together with hints that a gene called TRIM5, which is used by cells to fight viruses, is especially active in people with MS.

    Other illnesses have unexpectedly turned out to be caused by parasites. In the 1980s, Barry Marshall of the University of Western Australia ran into a brick wall of official disbelief for suggesting that a bacterium caused stomach ulcers. Only by deliberately infecting and then curing himself did he finally get the medical establishment's attention (and eventually the Nobel Prize).

    The virus implicated in multiple sclerosis is called HERV-Fc1, a bizarre beast called an "endogenous" retrovirus. What this means is that its genes are part of the human genome. For millions of years, they have been integrated into our own DNA and passed on by normal heredity. It was one of the shocks of genomic science to find that the human genome contains more retroviral than "human" genes: some 5% to 8% of the entire genome.

    Normally, the genes of endogenous retroviruses remain dormant, but—a bit like a computer virus that springs into action on a trigger—something wakes them up sometimes, and actual viruses are made from them, which then infect other cells in the body. The Danish scientists suggest that this is what happens in multiple sclerosis. Bjørn Nexø of Aarhus University writes that "retroviral infections often develop into running battles between the immune system and virus, with the virus mutating repeatedly to avoid the immune system, and the immune system repeatedly catching up. One can see the episodic nature of multiple sclerosis as such a running battle."

    The possibility that you can inherit the genes of a virus blurs the distinction between a genetic and an infectious disease. The HERV-Fc1 genes lie on the X chromosome. Since women have twice as many X chromosomes as men, this might explain why some forms of MS are more common in women. Dr. Nexø concludes hopefully: "The finding that a disease is caused by an infectious agent is an encouraging one. These are the diseases which we know best how to treat."

    Source: The Wall Street Journal Copyright ©2012 Dow Jones & Company (12/03/12)

    Related Items
    Abnormal Liver Tests and MS
    AlphaB-crystallin
    Aluminium and Multiple Sclerosis
    Antagonist compounds
    Antibodies, B Cells,T-Cell Activation, Immune Response
    Apolipoprotein D
    Bacteria & MS
    Biomarkers and MicroRNA
    Blood tests
    Bone Marrow Cells and MS Treatment
    Bowmann-Birk Inhibitor Concentrate (BBIC)
    Brain Atrophy, Lesion Loads, White and Grey Matter
    Brain Inflammation
    Brain Iron Deposits
    Calcium Binding Proteins
    Cerebro-Spinal Fluid & Spinal Cord
    Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI)
    CRMP-2
    CXCL1, 7, 12
    Cytokines & Chemokines
    Dendritic Cells
    Estrogen Receptors
    Fibrinogen, Mac-1 and Microglia
    HDL
    Histamine and MS
    Hormones And MS Research
    Immunoglobulins
    Infections and Multiple Sclerosis Relapses
    Interleukin-1beta
    JAK-STAT inhibitors
    Kallikrein 6
    Lipids & MS
    Medical Imaging
    Mycoplasmas And Bacteria
    N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) & Glucosamine
    Natural Interferon Beta
    Natural Killer Cells
    Nerve and Brain Cell Research
    Neurosteroids
    Olig 1 Gene Discovery
    Oligodendrocytes and Astrocytes
    Pesticides and Multiple Sclerosis
    PKC-theta
    Plasma Exchange
    Potential Viral Causes of MS
    Proteomics
    Recombinant Human Erythropoietin
    Regeneration Research
    RNA and RNAi
    Synthetic Small Molecules
    Technology
    Tetanus Vaccine and Possible MS Protection
    Tetramers
    The Blood Brain Barrier
    Tremors And MS
    Uric Acid
    Urinary Problems
    Vascular Function And MS
    Vision and MS


    Did you find this information useful? Would you like to comment on this page? Let us know what you think! We welcome all comments and feedback on any aspect of our website - please click here to contact us.