Ugeskr Læger 2016;178:V12150980
Endogenous retroviruses are associated with autoimmune diseases
Retroviruses can be transmitted in two fundamentally different ways: 1) They can be horizontally transmitted as infectious virus, or 2) they can integrate in the germ line and be transmitted to offspring and the offsprings’ offspring as DNA. The latter is called endogenous viruses. The mode of transmission is called vertical. Viral variants of importance for development of disease must be more frequent among diseased persons than among healthy individuals. Multiple sclerosis, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are all associated with sets of endogenouos retroviruses but not the same sets. If a virus grows and this contributes to disease, one should be able to alleviate disease with antiretroviral drugs. We call for clinical trials to elucidate this issue.