Endogenous retrovirus(es) causing unexplained illnesses?

Tucson, AZ
I read a fascinating article in last summer's Discover Magazine that I thought might have implications for ME/CFS. The article is about how both Schizophrenia and MS are linked to the same human endogenous retrovirus. If XMRV doesn't turn out to be "it" for ME/CFS/FM/etc, maybe something similar will turn up. What's fascinating is that the researcher did not start by looking for any particular agent, but rather studied the CSF of patients for reverse transcriptase enzyme activity. When that was found, they were able to work backwards and discovered HERV-W (human endogenous retrovirus "W"). Very interesting stuff.



Near Cognac, France

Very similar to the work Brigitte Huber is doing on HERV K18 and she is very aware of the HERV Multiple Sclerosis connection.

I appreciate that Brigitte Huber isn't exactly flavour of the month at the moment but I'm sure there could be a very fruitful collaboration between her and GeNeuro.

I particularly like the technique to determine the presence of any retrovirus, even if not previously catalogued, rather than looking for a specific suspect. Wasn't there any other thread recently where a similar technique was used?

Who knows. Maybe its XMRV and not EBV or HHV6 that reactivates HERVs?


Slow But Hopeful
Couchland, USA
Great article sensing, which I would think could apply to endogenous or exogenous viruses.

The following passage IMO speaks volumes for the correct approach in looking at all the illnesses associated with XMRV--
why some get GWS, some ME, some Lyme, some Autism etc. It's the internal and external environmental conditions that
determine the immune response to the pathogen, which in turn determines how the disease pattern manifests.
The bit I bolded also deserves consideration.

“The response to an infectious agent may be why person A gets schizophrenia and person B doesn’t.”

Gene studies have failed to provide simple explanations for ailments like schizophrenia and MS. Torrey’s theory may explain why. Genes may come into play only in conjunction with certain environmental kicks. Our genome’s thousands of parasites might provide part of that kick.

“The ‘genes’ that can respond to environmental triggers or toxic pathogens are the dark side of the genome,” Perron says. Retroviruses, including HIV, are known to be awakened by inflammation—possibly the result of infection, cigarette smoke, or pollutants in drinking water. (This stress response may be written into these parasites’ basic evolutionary strategy, since stressed hosts may be more likely to spread or contract infections.) The era of writing off endogenous retroviruses and other seemingly inert parts of the genome as genetic fossils is drawing to an end, Perron says. “It’s not completely junk DNA, it’s not dead DNA,” he asserts. “It’s an incredible source of interaction with the environment.” Those interactions may trigger disease in ways that we are only just beginning to imagine.


Senior Member
The small problem here is that the ARVs that we now hv on the mrkt, even those that are supposed to work in vivo on XMRV, it does not seem like they work on the HERVs or that recovery rates on ARVs are high.

It seems easier to go the herpesvirus route where, silencing them, seems to silence the RV as well.