Immunology

Trigger for autoimmune disease identified

Researchers at National Jewish Health have identified a trigger for autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis. The findings, published in the April 2017 issue of Journal of Clinical Investigation, ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Mayo Clinic unravels a mystery disease for Minnesota lawyer

Greg Widseth didn't know what hit him. The lawyer felt fine as he coached his son's ninth-grade basketball workout last March. He remembers smiling at a young woman as he left the building.

Surgery

Surgical mesh implants may cause autoimmune disorders

Surgical mesh implants, often used for hernia or gynecological repair, may be the reason so many patients report symptoms of an autoimmune disorder, according to a University of Alberta rheumatologist.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

New treatment in the works for disfiguring skin disease, vitiligo

In many parts of the world there is great shame and stigma tied to vitiligo, an autoimmune disease of the skin that causes disfiguring white spots, which can appear anywhere on the body. In some societies, individuals with ...

Immunology

The enemy within: Gut bacteria drive autoimmune disease

Bacteria found in the small intestines of mice and humans can travel to other organs and trigger an autoimmune response, according to a new Yale study. The researchers also found that the autoimmune reaction can be suppressed ...

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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.

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