The principal role of the immune system is to protect the organism from principally two the most dangerous events potentially threatening our life, i.e. infection and malignancy. However, sometimes the immune system instead of reacting against foreign and aberrant self-antigens can attack self-molecules. This inappropriate response of the immune system against self-components is termed autoimmunity.
There are 70 - 80 autoimmune disorders known till now and app. 5% of Caucasoid population suffers from them. Our understanding of autoimmunity has improved greatly during the last two decades, mainly because of the development of a variety of animal models of these diseases and the identification of genes that may predispose to autoimmunity. Nevertheless, the aetiology of most human autoimmune diseases remains still obscure.
The term “autoimmunity” is often erroneously used for a disease in which immune reactions accompany tissue injury; they are “a by-product” of a release of self-antigens to circulation without causing any damage; moreover, these “autoimmune reactions” help to degrade them and to remove them from the body.
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