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Autoimmunity - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The immune system has very powerful effector mechanisms that can eliminate a

wide variety of pathogens. Early in the study of immunity, it was realized that these

could, if turned against the host, cause severe tissue damage. Autoimmune

responses resemble normal immune responses to pathogens as specifically activated

by antigens, in this case self-antigens or auto-antigens, and give rise to auto-reactive

effector cells and to antibodies, called autoantibodies, against the self-antigen. When

reactions to self-tissues do occur and are then improperly regulated, they cause a

variety of chronic syndromes called autoimmune diseases.

Immune Tolerance

Although individual autoimmune diseases are uncommon, collectively they affect

approximately 5% of the populations in United States, and their incidence is on the

rise. Nevertheless, their relative rarity indicates that the immune system has evolved

multiple mechanisms to prevent damage to self-tissues. The most fundamental

principle underlying these mechanisms is the discrimination of self from non self, but

this discrimination is not easy to achieve.

Find more information about autoimmunity at Creative Diagnostics.