Cytokine regulation of env gene expression of human endogenous retrovirus-R in human vascular endothelial cells

Clin Immunol. 1999 Oct;93(1):75-80. doi: 10.1006/clim.1999.4762.


To determine whether human endogenous retroviruses are implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory vascular diseases of unknown etiology, we examined mRNA expression of a human endogenous retrovirus, HERV-R, which has a long open reading frame in the env region, in cultured human vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells stimulated in the presence of various cytokines. mRNA of HERV-R was always evident in these cells but not in fibroblastic cells. Levels of expression in vascular endothelial cells were significantly regulated by treatment with tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1alpha, and IL-1beta as up-regulators and interferon-gamma as a down-regulator. These observations are interpreted to mean that HERV-R expression may be up- or down-regulated at sites of inflammation in vessels in vivo and hence may play a pathogenetic role in inflammatory vascular diseases in humans, perhaps similar to endogenous retroviruses in mouse models of polyarteritis nodosa in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / pharmacology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Genes, env / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Retroviridae / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Cytokines
  • RNA, Messenger