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Epitopes of HERV-Wenv induce antigen-specific humoral immunity in multiple sclerosis patients

Giuseppe Mameli, Davide Cossu, Eleonora Cocco, Jessica Frau, Maria Giovanna Marrosu, Magdalena Niegowska, Leonardo Antonio Sechi

Journal of Neuroimmunology, Volume 280, 15 March 2015, Pages 66-68


  • Six antigenic peptides from HERV-Wenv protein were identified.
  • A peptide-based indirect ELISA was used to screen a population of 80 MS and 73 HCs.
  • Only two peptides were capable of inducing a strong humoral response in MS subjects.
  • Antibody values against these two peptides decreased after six months of IFN-β therapy.


To verify the serological response mounted against antigenic peptides from HERV-Wenv protein, we analyzed 80 multiple sclerosis (MS) serum samples, 27 of which were re-analyzed after a 6-month follow-up IFN-β therapy, and 73 healthy controls. Indirect ELISAs were carried out to detect antibodies specific for all the synthetic peptides derived from HERV-Wenv. Two antigenic peptides, HERV-Wenv93–108 (31.25%,p < 0.0001) and HERV-Wenv248–262 (15%, p = 0.02), were highly recognized by MS patients' antibodies when compared to healthy subjects. Moreover, antibody titer against these two peptides slightly decreased after six months of IFN-β-based therapy.

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

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