Publication date: May 11, 2019
Little is known about why the immune system turns on its own cells in autoimmune conditions, but scientists at Institut Pasteur say they have discovered a piece of the puzzle to what causes the inflammation associated with multiple sclerosis.
With MS, the central nervous system (brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord) become inflamed, damaging the myelin sheath, or the insulation and protective covering of the nerve cells.
Scientists at Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, report they’ve found that human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) – also known as ancient viruses or fossil viruses – are involved in the central nervous system’s defensive response in multiple sclerosis.
- Expression of endogenous retroviruses reflects increased usage of atypical enhancers in T cells.
- High dose of dexamethasone protects against EAE-induced motor deficits but impairs learning/memory in C57BL/6 mice.