Progressive encephalopathy and myopathy in transgenic mice expressing human foamy virus genes

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Science  02 Aug 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5019, pp. 555-557
DOI: 10.1126/science.1650034


Transgenic mice carrying the bel region of human foamy retrovirus (HFV) under transcriptional control of its own long terminal repeat expressed the transgene in their central nervous systems and in smooth and striated muscle tissues. The animals developed a progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system and of the striated muscle. Because expression of the transgene was closely correlated with the appearance of structural damage and inflammatory reactions were scanty, the disease is likely to be caused directly by the HFV proteins. These unexpected findings call for a reevaluation of the pathogenic potential of HFV in humans.