The Natural Immune System in Autoimmune and Neurological Disease

  • Jean E. Merrill


Since Erlich’s first hypothesis of “horror autotoxicus” and the established paradigm that the immune response does not or should not react to self, immunologists have been made increasingly aware of instances where autoimmunity is neither a rare nor a harmful event. Recognition of modified self seems essential for the removal of virus-infected cells, and idiotype-antiidiotype networks may be regulators of the humoral immune response. Nonetheless, there are numerous autoimmune diseases in which regulation of natural immunity seems to have gone awry. The unanswered question is whether this is in primary association with the disease process or the secondary result of the chronicity of an aberrant immune response. Organ-specific autoimmune diseases include acquired immune hemolytic disorders such as hemolytic anemia, idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, or idiopathic neutropenia; diseases of the nervous system or neuromuscular tissue such as multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis; diseases of exocrine and endocrine systems such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, pernicious anemia, Addison’s disease, and diabetes mellitus; and diseases of other organs like pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid, biliary cirrhosis, ulcerative colitis, and uveitis. Systemic diseases that are non-organ-specific include systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Goodpasture’s syndrome, and Sjögren’s syndrome.


Multiple Sclerosis Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Natural Killer Natural Killer Cell Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean E. Merrill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUCLA School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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