Autoimmunity Highlights

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 105–112

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


  • Malgorzata Milkiewicz
    • Medical Biology LaboratoryPomeranian Medical University
  • Llorenç Caballería
    • Liver Unit, Hospital Clínic University of Barcelona
  • Daniel S. Smyk
    • Institute of Liver StudiesKing’s College London School of Medicine
    • Liver Unit, Pomeranian Medical University
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s13317-012-0038-z

Cite this article as:
Milkiewicz, M., Caballería, L., Smyk, D.S. et al. Autoimmun Highlights (2012) 3: 105. doi:10.1007/s13317-012-0038-z


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.


AutoimmunityAutoimmune diseaseGeneticsPreventionPredictionRisk factorSusceptibility



Antimitochondrial antibodies


Antinuclear antibodies

E. coli

Escherichia coli

L. delbrueckii

Lactobacillus delbrueckii


Primary biliary cirrhosis


Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex


Urinary tract infection

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2012