Autoimmune Disease

∞ generated and posted on 2016.01.15 ∞

Immune system attacking of normal body structures, cells, and tissues.

That is, in autoimmune disease, self is confused with nonself, with effort made by the immune system to eliminate the so-recognized molecules and cells. Due to the specificity of immune responses, in autoimmune diseases it is often specific structures and cell types that are attached rather than more general tissue destruction. This state can be described as a failure to sustain self tolerance.

Generally autoimmune diseases correspond with the different classes of hypersensitivities, particularly type II, type III, and type IV hypersensitivities. One cause of autoimmune disease is antibody cross reactivity between antigens associated with pathogens and self molecules, e.g., as is the case with rheumatic fever.

Combating autoimmune disease typically involves the administration of drugs that induce a degree of immunodeficiency but can also entail treatments aimed at compensating for lost functions, e.g., as is the case in treatment of Diabetes mellitus type 1.