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Learning objectives

  • Explain why autoimmune disorders develop
  • Provide a few examples of organ-specific and systemic autoimmune diseases

In 1970, artist Walt Kelly developed a poster promoting Earth Day, featuring a character from Pogo , his daily newspaper comic strip. In the poster, Pogo looks out across a litter-strewn forest and says wryly, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pogo was not talking about the human immune system, but he very well could have been. Although the immune system protects the body by attacking invading “enemies” (pathogens), in some cases, the immune system can mistakenly identify the body’s own cells as the enemy, resulting in autoimmune disease .

Autoimmune diseases are those in which the body is attacked by its own specific adaptive immune response. In normal, healthy states, the immune system induces tolerance , which is a lack of an anti-self immune response. However, with autoimmunity, there is a loss of immune tolerance, and the mechanisms responsible for autoimmune diseases include type II, III, and IV hypersensitivity reactions. Autoimmune diseases can have a variety of mixed symptoms that flare up and disappear, making diagnosis difficult.

The causes of autoimmune disease are a combination of the individual's genetic makeup and the effect of environmental influences, such as sunlight, infections, medications, and environmental chemicals. However, the vagueness of this list reflects our poor understanding of the etiology of these diseases. Except in a very few specific diseases, the initiation event(s) of most autoimmune states has not been fully characterized.

There are several possible causes for the origin of autoimmune diseases and autoimmunity is likely due to several factors. Evidence now suggests that regulatory T and B cells play an essential role in the maintenance of tolerance and prevention of autoimmune responses. The regulatory T cells are especially important for inhibiting autoreactive T cells that are not eliminated during thymic selection and escape the thymus (see T Lymphocytes and Cellular Immunity ). In addition, antigen mimicry between pathogen antigens and our own self antigens can lead to cross-reactivity and autoimmunity. Hidden self-antigens may become exposed because of trauma, drug interactions, or disease states, and trigger an autoimmune response. All of these factors could contribute to autoimmunity. Ultimately, damage to tissues and organs in the autoimmune disease state comes as a result of inflammatory responses that are inappropriate; therefore, treatment often includes immunosuppressive drugs and corticosteroid s.

Organ-specific autoimmune diseases

Some autoimmune diseases are considered organ specific, meaning that the immune system targets specific organs or tissues. Examples of organ-specific autoimmune diseases include celiac disease, Graves disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis, type I diabetes mellitus, and Addison disease.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is largely a disease of the small intestine, although other organs may be affected. People in their 30s and 40s, and children are most commonly affected, but celiac disease can begin at any age. It results from a reaction to proteins, commonly called gluten , found mainly in wheat, barley, rye, and some other grains. The disease has several genetic causes (predispositions) and poorly understood environmental influences. On exposure to gluten, the body produces various autoantibodies and an inflammatory response. The inflammatory response in the small intestine leads to a reduction in the depth of the microvilli of the mucosa, which hinders absorption and can lead to weight loss and anemia. The disease is also characterized by diarrhea and abdominal pain, symptoms that are often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome .

Questions & Answers

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I think it is only about micro biology.
Kimberly
so whats happening
Michael
I am about to enter school and am going for MCB
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What is DNA damage and repair
Sree Reply
removal of nucleotide bases from DNA is damage n addition or insertion of bases in DNA is repair.
Rashmi
replication is a term related to generation of new DNA from a parental DNA.
Rashmi
role of microorganism as pathogens
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to live inside the host body, reproduction n destroy the immune system of host body.
Rashmi
what is replication
rajesh
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rajesh
replication is a term related to generation of new DNA from parental DNA.
Rashmi
difference between endotoxin and exotoxin
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toxins released inside the cell or a body is endotoxin n toxins released outside the cell or a body is exotoxin.
Rashmi
please I want the names of bacteria and the diseases they cause.
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there are many we classify it according to their shapes gram negative or gram positive
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what are the opportunistic infection in aids stage
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certain cancer or pneumonia 🤔
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penicillium crysogenum
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Salam am studying physiotherapy in bayaro university kano
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it is the study of microorganisms
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the organism can not be seen by eyes they can be seen with the help of microscope
rajesh
microbiology is the study of microorganism and microorganism are such as bacteria ,parasite, viruses and fungi and etc.. those are cant be seen with asked eyes and can be seen with help of microscope . I hope this helps you
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what is virology
Bismarck Reply
the study of viruses
Adan
what is myrology
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myrology or mycology?
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mycology
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the study of fungi.
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study of viruses
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virology,mycology,bacteriology
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Practice MCQ 2

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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