How Infection Can Trigger Autoimmune Diseases

We  came across a fabulous article in the New Zealand Herald about work that Australian scientists, Tyani Chan and Robert Brink from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research have undertaken.

Their work looked at how antibodies, created to fight off infections might be involved in an autoimmune attack.  When our bodies are fending off infections, our B cells can randomly mutate their antibody genes (the ones that play a crucial role in fighting off diseases) until they produce one that can ‘stick’ to the invading antigen (the disease), thus fighting it off.

What they found was that, when the antigen is available throughout our body, rogue and disregulated autoantibody generating B cells are killed, thus avoiding autoimmunity.  However, when the antigens can only be found in a tissue or an organ, B cells which can both fight infections and our own bodies are able to ‘escape’ thus producing autoimmunity.

We have long said that the cure for Birdshot is likely to come from immunologists, and those studying autoimmunity, as once we understand how our immune systems become disregulated and attack our bodies, we can then target the appropriate cells.

It looks as though the scientific world is working at quite a pace to understand immunity and autoimmunity.

The full article can be found at:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10846209

There is another, equally well written article on this subject at:

http://www.sciencecodex.com/how_infection_can_trigger_autoimmune_disease-101754

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