Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV)-K env-su glycoprotein has been documented in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), where HERV-K env-su19–37 antibody levels significantly correlated with clinical measures of disease severity. Herein, we investigated further the humoral and cell-mediated immune response against specific antigenic peptides derived from HERV-K in ALS. HERV-K env glycoprotein expression on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) membrane and cytokines and chemokines after stimulation with HERV-K env19–37 and HERV-K env109–126 were quantified in patients and healthy controls (HCs). HERV-K env glycoprotein was more expressed in B cells and NK cells of ALS patients compared to HCs, whereas HERV-K env transcripts were similar in ALS and HCs. In ALS patients, specific stimulation with HERV-K env109–126 peptide showed a higher expression of IL-6 by CD19/B cells. Both peptides, however, were able to induce a great production of IFN-γ by stimulation CD19/B cells, and yielded a higher expression of MIP-1α and a lower expression of MCP-1. HERV-K env19–37 peptide induced a great production of TNF-α in CD8/T cells. In conclusion, we observed the ability of HERV-K to modulate the immune system, generating mediators mainly involved in proinflammatory response.
Herv-k modulates the immune response in als patients / Arru, G.; Galleri, G.; Deiana, G. A.; Zarbo, I. R.; Sechi, E.; Bo, M.; Cadoni, M. P. L.; Corda, D. G.; Frau, C.; Simula, E. R.; Manca, M. A.; Galistu, F.; Solla, P.; Manetti, R.; Sechi, G. P.; Sechi, L. A.. - In: MICROORGANISMS. - ISSN 2076-2607. - 9:8(2021), p. 1784. [10.3390/microorganisms9081784]