Activation of elements in HERV-W family by caffeine and aspirin.

Caffeine and aspirin have been suggested to be involved in neurologic diseases, such as schizophrenia, and previous data have revealed that abnormal expression of HERV-W elements may be an important factor in the etiopathogenesis of those diseases. In this article, we reported that caffeine and aspirin contributed to the expression of HERV-W env and gag in Human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR and quantitative Real-time PCR were used to detect the mRNA of HERV-W env and gag in cells exposed to caffeine or aspirin. Western blotting was used to detect the protein of HERV-W env. Luciferase activity assay was employed to detect the activity of HERV-W env promoter. It was found that both caffeine and aspirin could increase the expression of HERV-W env and gag in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Caffeine could activate the HERV-W env promoter, while aspirin could not. With previous studies we can conjecture that HERVs might play a bridging role between environmental factors, such as drugs and neurologic diseases.
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