Ugeskr Laeger 2003 Feb 3;165(6):556-61
Christensen T, Moller-Larsen A.
Institut for Medicinsk Mikrobiologi og Immunologi, Aarhus Universitet, DK-8000 Arhus C.
Endogenous retroviruses represent sequences descended from ancient virus infections integrated in the host genome.
They participate in processes, such as speciation, recombination, ontogenesis, and regulation of tissue specificity and gene expression.
It has been suggested in recent years that human endogenous retroviruses may play a role in certain types of cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Human endogenous retroviruses represent both putative susceptibility genes and putative pathogenic viruses in diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and possibly type 1 diabetes.
Multiple sclerosis is specifically associated with expression of human endogenous retroviruses as virions.
It is not yet known if the human endogenous retroviruses also represent causal factors, but several pathogenic mechanisms are possible.