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J Med Primatol. 1998 Dec;27(6):278-86.

Immunohistochemical localization of retroviral-related antigens expressed in normal baboon placental villous tissue.

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Institute of Primate Research, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya.


Endogenous retroviral particles (ERVs) have been detected in the genome of all eukaryotes. They are generally non-pathogenic except in mice where they have been found to induce tumors and immunological disorders. The ERVs have morphological features consistent with type-C retroviral particles and are commonly expressed in normal placental villous tissues. ERVs may have a role in the regulation of placental gene expression, syncytiotrophoblast formation, or pregnancy-related immunosuppression. In this study, well-characterized antibodies (monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies) raised against retroviral proteins (anti-HIV and anti-SIV) and endogenous retroviral (ERV) particles were assessed for their cross-reactivity (by using immunohistochemistry) with normal baboon placental and other adult tissues. The monoclonal antibodies to exogenous retroviral proteins (anti-HIV-2 gp120, anti-HIV-1 gp41, anti-SIVmac p27, anti-HIV-1 RT, and anti-HIV-2 core protein) showed specific immunohistochemical reactivity with the syncytiotrophoblast. Antibodies to endogenous retroviral gene products (anti-ERV3 env, anti-HERV-K RT, and anti-HERV-K env) also reacted in a similar manner and did not cross-react with other adult tissues. These studies have shown that retroviral-cross-reactive proteins are expressed in baboon placental syncytiotrophoblast and may have a role to play at the feto-maternal interface.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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