Human endogenous retroviruses: Their possible role in the molecular etiology of the schizophrenia


Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) represent footprints of previous retroviral infections. They are integrated within the human germ line and constitute approximately 8% of our genome. They have the potential to harm, given their capacity to alter the cellular metabolism, and could be involved in various pathological processes. This revision intends to highlight the importance of HERVs in health and disease, and the increasing interest of the scientific community in their biology. In this overview, we will present a brief summary of the structure and physiological function of HERVs and an analysis of their role in schizophrenia, a paradigm of mental illness, particularly stressing the importance of HERV research to explore the more basic mechanisms disrupted in this psychiatric condition.

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Alelú-Paz, R. and Iturrieta-Zuazo, I. (2012) Human endogenous retroviruses: Their possible role in the molecular etiology of the schizophrenia. Open Journal of Genetics, 2, 70-76. doi: 10.4236/ojgen.2012.21009.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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