Medical research

Using 'organs-on-a-chip' to model complicated diseases

MIT biological engineers have created a multitissue model that lets them study the relationships between different organs and the immune system, on a specialized microfluidic platform seeded with human cells.

Immunology

Scientists discover new 'Jekyll and Hyde' immune cell

Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have identified a rare, new cell in the immune system with "Jekyll and Hyde properties". These cells play a key protective role in immunity to infection but—if unregulated—also mediate ...

Diabetes

A better diagnosis of rare diabetes to adapt treatment

Diabetes affects more than 400 million people worldwide and is a major public health problem. Although commonly referred to as a single disease, it actually constitutes a group of metabolic disorders with hyperglycaemia as ...

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Autoimmunity

Autoimmunity is the failure of an organism to recognize its own constituent parts as self, which allows an immune response against its own cells and tissues. Any disease that results from such an aberrant immune response is termed an autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity is often caused by a lack of germ development of a target body and as such the immune response acts against its own cells and tissues. Prominent examples include Coeliac disease, diabetes mellitus type 1 (IDDM), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren's syndrome, Churg-Strauss Syndrome, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus and allergies. Autoimmune diseases are very often treated with steroids.

The misconception that an individual's immune system is totally incapable of recognizing self antigens is not new. Paul Ehrlich, at the beginning of the twentieth century, proposed the concept of horror autotoxicus, wherein a 'normal' body does not mount an immune response against its own tissues. Thus, any autoimmune response was perceived to be abnormal and postulated to be connected with human disease. Now, it is accepted that autoimmune responses are an integral part of vertebrate immune systems (sometimes termed 'natural autoimmunity'), normally prevented from causing disease by the phenomenon of immunological tolerance to self-antigens. Autoimmunity should not be confused with alloimmunity.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA