Autoimmunity and Diseases Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :


The immune system of the body must differentiate itself from harmful to repel invaders and to protect the integrity of the host without inducing autoimmunity. Any deficit in this function can cause the body to be vulnerable to infections, malignancies or over-reactivity to innocuous antigens, resulting immunopathology and autoimmunity.

Autoimmunity is defined by pathological immune-based reactions which are usually persistent and have long duration, which involve self-antigens (autoantigens). Its clinical expression is the result of organic or functional alteration of cells or the antigen involved in the reaction (organ-specific autoimmune diseases). When complex autoantigen-autoantibody circulate in the blood and deposit in various parts of the body, form the basis of so- called systemic autoimmune disease or organ specific disease. The idea implies pathological autoimmunity, which can be physiological or natural (Rioux, Abbas, 2005). A number of mechanisms allow those potentially dangerous auto-reactive lymphocytes to be eliminated physically or functionally.

Autoimmune Diseases

One of the major function of a humans being's immune system is to shield the body from microorganisms for example viruses, bacteria etc. By generating antibodies. Sometimes malfunctioning takes place in the body due to various reasons which cause the immune system cells to attack the very cells that should protect, that is, the bodies own cells. This leads to a various diseases called autoimmune diseases, depending on organ or system attacked (Munz, Lunemann, Getts, Miller, 2009). Examples of autoimmune diseases are: Crohn's disease, Pernicious anemia, Rheumatoid arthritis, Diabetes type I, Addison's disease, Celiac disease, Multiple sclerosis, Systemic lupus Graves' disease etc.


There are over 80 different types of autoimmune diseases and each has different symptoms. However, there are some very non-specific symptoms that can appear in all of them. These include: fatigue, dizziness, malaise and low fever. During the treatment, it is of utmost importance in any autoimmune disease to rectify any main deficiencies caused by it. Secondly, it is observed that patients having any kind of autoimmune disease have a decreased activity of immune system (Rioux, Abbas, 2005). For this, it is imperative to maintain a balance between controlling the disease and strengthen the ability of body deal with the disease.


Drugs used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases are corticosteroids. Severe autoimmune disease can be treated with other immunosuppressive drugs which have a higher potency, like cyclophosphamide and azathioprine. However, all these medicines rapidly deteriorate tissue whose cells are in the process of division, such as bone; therefore they need to be used cautiously. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy is used in the treatment of various autoimmune diseases to reduce circulating immune complexes.

Causes of Autoimmune Diseases

There are no unanimously agreed upon theories which can reflect up the exact causes of autoimmune diseases but most common reasons found in patients of different kinds of autoimmune disease are: genetic inheritance, effect of different types of microorganisms, certain medicines. Some scientists claim that certain vaccines and drugs trigger autoimmune diseases. Others suggest that malnutrition and additives in diet cause these diseases. Further research is still required in this regard (Munz, Lunemann, Getts, Miller, 2009).

Rheumatoid Arthritis…

Sources Used in Document:


Munz C, Lunemann JD, Getts MT, Miller SD (2009) Antiviral immune responses: triggers of or triggered by autoimmunity? Nat Rev Immunol; 9: 246-258.

Rioux JD and Abbas AK (2005). Paths to understanding the genetic basis of autoimmune disease. Nature 435: 584-589.

Wucherpfennig KW (2001) Mechanisms for the induction of autoimmunity by infectious agents. J Clin Invest 108: 1097-1104.

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