Can Unresolved Infection Precipitate Autoimmune Disease?

  • D. J. B. Marks
  • N. A. Mitchison
  • A. W. Segal
  • J. Sieper
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 305)


Autoimmune diseases are frequently postulated to arise as post-infectious phenomena. Here we survey the evidence supporting these theories, with particular emphasis on Crohn’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis. Direct proof that infection establishes persistent autoimmunity remains lacking, although it may provoke a prolonged inflammatory response when occurring on a susceptible immunological background. The argument of infective causality is by nomeans trivial, since it carries important consequences for the safety of vaccine development.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. B. Marks
    • 1
  • N. A. Mitchison
    • 2
  • A. W. Segal
    • 1
  • J. Sieper
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Molecular MedicineUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Immunology, Windeyer Institute of Medical ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Rheumatology, Charite BerlinCampus Benjamin FranklinBerlinGermany

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