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Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a neurotropic alphaherpesvirus that can infect the peripheral and central nervous systems, and it has been implicated in demyelinating and neurodegenerative processes. Transposable elements (TEs) are DNA sequences that can move from one genomic location to another. TEs have been linked to several diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS), including multiple sclerosis (MS), a demyelinating disease of unknown etiology influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Exogenous viral transactivators may activate certain retrotransposons or class I TEs. In this context, several herpesviruses have been linked to MS, and one of them, HSV-1, might act as a risk factor by mediating processes such as molecular mimicry, remyelination, and activity of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). Several herpesviruses have been involved in the regulation of human ERVs (HERVs), and HSV-1 in particular can modulate HERVs in cells involved in MS pathogenesis. This review exposes current knowledge about the relationship between HSV-1 and human ERVs, focusing on their contribution as a risk factor for MS.


Raquel Bello-Morales, Sabina Andreu, Inés Ripa, José Antonio López-Guerrero. HSV-1 and Endogenous Retroviruses as Risk Factors in Demyelination. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 May 27;22(11)

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PMID: 34072259

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