In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ASL) individuals, the levels of human endogenous retrovirus K (HML-2) in serum and HML-2 envelope (env) antibodies were higher than in healthy controls, and low levels of HML-2 antibody was linked to definite ASL diagnosis and lower probability of survival.
Why this matters
ASL pathogenesis is associated with human endogenous retroviruses, specifically a subtype called HML-2. Further, HML-2 env protein can induce neurodegeneration.
Therefore, antibodies against HML-2 are a potential biomarker for ALS diagnosis and prognosis.