Review Article

Autoimmunity Highlights

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 105-112

Predicting and preventing autoimmunity: the case of anti-mitochondrial antibodies

  • Malgorzata MilkiewiczAffiliated withMedical Biology Laboratory, Pomeranian Medical University
  • , Llorenç CaballeríaAffiliated withLiver Unit, Hospital Clínic University of Barcelona
  • , Daniel S. SmykAffiliated withInstitute of Liver Studies, King’s College London School of Medicine
  • , Piotr MilkiewiczAffiliated withLiver Unit, Pomeranian Medical University Email author 

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To be able to predict who will develop autoimmune disease would allow for early treatment which may dramatically alter the course of the disease. In some cases, it may also lead to prevention of the disease development. The prediction of disease development is based on the analysis of risk factors which have been associated with the disease in question. These factors include genetic susceptibility, as well as immunological and environmental factors. One autoimmune disease that may serve as a model for disease prediction is primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), an autoimmune liver disease affecting the small- and medium-sized bile ducts. PBC could be an ideal model due to recent advances in elucidating its genetic associations. As well, a variety of immunological and environmental risk factors have been well established. Indeed, the presence of PBC-specific antimitochondrial antibodies and/or antinuclear antibodies has been shown to be predictor of disease development and possibly prognosis. This review will examine the current evidence which suggests that we may potentially be able to predict the development of PBC in some individuals. These concepts may also be applied to autoimmune diseases in general.


Autoimmunity Autoimmune disease Genetics Prevention Prediction Risk factor Susceptibility