J Neurovirol 2003 Jan-Feb;9(1):112-117
Nowak J, Januszkiewicz D, Pernak M, Liwen I I, Zawada M, Rembowska J, Nowicka K, Lewandowski K, Hertmanowska H, Wender M.
Institute of Human Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Strzeszynska, Poland.
In the etiopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), both genetic and environmental factors play an important role.
Among environmental factors, viral infections are most likely connected with the etiology of MS.
There are many evidence suggesting possible involvement of retroviruses in the development of autoimmune diseases including MS.
Multiple sclerosis-associated retrovirus (MSRV) seems to be the important candidate for viral etiology of MS.
The aim of the study was to analyze MSRV pol sequences in patients with MS.
As control, groups of myasthenia gravis, Parkinson's disease, and migraine patients, and healthy individuals have been studied.
The MSRV pol sequences have been analyzed in RNA isolated from the serum and in DNA and RNA of peripheral blood lymphocytes from untreated MS patients and control groups.
The MSRV pol sequences have been detected by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and PCR technique, using specific oligonucleotide primers.
In the serum RNA (cDNA), MSRV pol sequences have been identified in 31/32 MS patients.
MSRV pol sequences were detected in serum cDNA of 9/17 myasthenia gravis patients, 7/16 Parkinson's disease patients, 10/21 migraine patients, and 13/27 healthy individuals.
MSRV pol sequences were observed also in RNA from lymphocytes of all MS patients, 12/17 myasthenia gravis patients, 9/16 Parkinson's disease patients, 14/21 migraine patients, and 18/27 healthy donors.
In the DNA from peripheral blood lymphocytes of all studied patients and healthy individuals, MSRV pol sequences have been found.
The observed pattern of fiber-fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) signals suggests the presence of multiple copies of MSRV pol sequences, most likely tandemly dispersed in the genome.
It can be concluded that MSRV pol sequences are endogenous, widespread in lymphocytes DNA, and transcribed into RNA of MS patients as well as of other studied patients and healthy individuals.
However, more frequent expression of MSRV sequences detected in lymphocytes RNA (cDNA), as well as their presence in higher frequency in the serum of MS patients, may suggest the involvement of MSRV in the etiopathogenesis on MS.