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Autoimmune diseases, when the immune system stops recognising self tissues

Life and Matter Sciences

Nature Papers February 2012


Berent Prakken
Mark Peakman
Jorge R. Oksenberg
Juan Carlos López

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The immune system functions to defend us from external agents that can damage our bodies such as viruses, bacteria, and other biological (microbial), chemical, or physical agents. Normally, the immune system detects these antigens and attacks them with processes such as inflammation and antibody generation. However, sometimes this system fails to recognise as self one or more autologous tissues or components, producing antibodies that attack the body’s own cells, tissues, and organs. This process leads to inflammation, injury, and the destruction of healthy cells, ultimately manifesting as autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

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