Immunological self-tolerance and autoimmunity
The immune system has evolved to distinguish between components of its own organism and foreign molecules. This is of vital importance, since all foreign structures are potentially life-threatening, whether they have invaded the organism from outside (e.g. infectious agents), or have arisen within the tissues (e.g. tumour cells). Distinction between ‘self’ and ‘non-self’ is, however, not an easy task. A protective immune cell must be able specifically to recognize a foreign structure and to initiate its destruction and elimination; at the same time, the immune cell has to interact intimately with other cells of the organism during the development of the immune system and even in an ongoing immune response. Obviously, these self tissues must not be destroyed, but tolerated.
KeywordsSystemic Lupus Erythematosus Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis Bullous Pemphigoid Experimental Allergic Neuritis Ongoing Immune Response
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