Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 301, Issue 1, pp 57–64 | Cite as

Prediction and prevention of autoimmune skin disorders

  • Agmon-Levin Nancy
  • Shoenfeld YehudaEmail author


Autoimmune diseases can be preceded by a symptom-free phase which is defined by the presence of autoantibodies, and may last for many years. These autoantibodies may have a high positive predictive value for disease onset, severity and organ-specific complications, especially in genetically prone individuals. Characteristic autoantibodies and susceptible genes have been identified in many autoimmune systemic and mucocutaneous diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, pemphigus, vitiligo, dermatitis hepretiformis and even psoriasis. Prevention of overt disease may be achieved once high-risk individuals are identified and triggering factors are avoided. Numerous environmental factors, such as vitamin D deficiency, ultraviolet light, smoking, drugs, etc., that may trigger autoimmunity have been found. Alternatively, even if the autoimmune disease cannot be prevented, it may be postponed or attenuated. Thus, although large body of evidence has accumulated on characteristic autoantibodies, susceptible genes and environmental factors, many more large scale studies are needed to assess their predictive value, the preventive measurements and the means to apply them to clinical management of healthy population and high-risk individuals.


Autoimmunity Prevention Skin diseases Genetics Environmental factors 


Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine ‘B’, Center for Autoimmune DiseasesChaim Sheba Medical CenterTel-Hashomer, Tel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Incumbent of the Laura Schwarz-Kip Chair for Research of Autoimmune DiseasesTel-Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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