MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sandrine Levet PhD
Preclinical Study Manager
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), remnants of ancestral viral genomic insertions, are known to represent 8% of the human genome and are associated with several pathologies. In particular, the envelope protein of HERV-W family (HERV-W Env) has been involved in multiple sclerosis pathogenesis.
A previous study published in JCI Insight revealed that HERV-W Env is also involved in Type 1 diabetes (T1D) pathogenesis. In this study, we observed that HERV-W-Env protein and RNA are detected respectively in sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) of T1D patients.
We also demonstrated that this pathogenic protein is expressed by acinar cells in human T1D pancreas and is associated with the recruitment of macrophages within the pancreas of these patients. HERV-W Env also displays direct pathogenic properties as it inhibits insulin secretion by human islets of Langerhans.