To explain the pathogenesis of autoimmunity, we hypothesize that following an infection the immune response spreads to tissue-specific autoantigens in genetically predisposed individuals eventually determining progression to disease. Molecular mimicry between viral and self antigens could, in some instances, initiate autoimmunity. Local elicitation of inflammatory cytokines following infection probably plays a pivotal role in determining loss of functional tolerance to self autoantigens and the destructive activation of autoreactive cells. We also describe the potential role of interleukin 10, a powerful B-cell activator, in increasing the efficiency of epitope recognition, that could well be crucial to the progression toward disease.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||3|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Mar 19 1996|
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