The immunology of autoimmune disease

Autoimmune diseases result from an abnormal immune response to self-antigens. In all these diseases, there is a breakdown of normal regulatory mechanisms and a lack of tolerance to the self-antigens concerned. The complex immunological responses that occur in these diseases are responsible for the resulting pathology and an understanding of these responses is vital for effective disease management.

Table 5.7 Target antigens involved in autoimmune diseases

Disease

Target antigens/potential target antigens

Myasthenia gravis Primary biliary cirrhosis Autoimmune thyroid disease

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Acetyl choline receptor

Mitochondrial enzymes of the 2-oxo-acid dehydrogenase family

Thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor, thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin

Double-stranded DNA

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