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Environmental Factors in Autoimmune Endocrinopathies

  • Rajni B. Sharma
  • C. Lynne Burek
  • Daniela Cihákova
  • Dolores B. Njoku
  • Noel R. Rose
Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE)

Summary

The autoimmune endocrinopathies include a wide range of diseases affecting one or more endocrine glands. While a strong genetic predisposition underlies their development, environmental factors are also involved in their pathogenesis. These environmental agents include infections, therapeutic drugs, chemicals, and radiation. A firm relationship between these environmental agents and autoimmune diseases is difficult to establish as exposure to these agents often precedes onset of disease by a considerable margin. Animal models have helped considerably to establish a cause/effect relationship. The mechanisms by which autoimmunity may be initiated include changes in autologous antigens, alterations in immune regulation, or altered gene expression. Environmental factors alter the immune responses depending on the genetic susceptibility of the host and may be regulated by the quality, quantity, and duration of exposure.

Keywords

Environmental factors diabetes thyroid diseases 

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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rajni B. Sharma
  • C. Lynne Burek
  • Daniela Cihákova
  • Dolores B. Njoku
  • Noel R. Rose

There are no affiliations available

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