: The role of retroviral envelope proteins belonging to the Human Endogenous Retroviral family 'W' (HERV-W), specifically syncytin-1 and pathogenic HERV-W (pHERV-W), as potential risk factors in multiple sclerosis (MS) has been established. This study aimed to investigate the humoral response to syncytin-1 and pHERV-W-derived peptides in a group of relapsing remitting MS patients categorized as having acute or stable disease. Furthermore, an inhibition assay was conducted to assess the extent of cross-reactivity between the two epitopes. The findings revealed that MS patients in the acute phase exhibited a higher specific antibody response to the pHERV-W env epitope compared to syncytin-1. This suggests a potential pathogenic role for pHERV-W env during the inflammatory stages of central nervous system involvement, and these antibody responses could serve as useful biomarkers for monitoring the progression of the disease.
Correlation between antibodies against the pathogenic pHERV-W envelope protein and the inflammatory phase of multiple sclerosis / Ruberto, Stefano; Cossu, Davide; Sechi, Leonardo A. - In: IMMUNOLOGY. - ISSN 0019-2805. - (2023). [10.1111/imm.13712]