Self antigens

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/3-540-29662-X_2408
  • 476 Downloads

Synonyms

Autoantigens.

Definition

Self antigens are by convention antigens in the body of an individual. In regards to autoimmune diseases, they are those cellular proteins, peptides, enzyme complexes, ribonucleoprotein complexes, DNA, and post-translationally modified antigens against which autoantibodies are directed.

Full Text

Self antigens are not normally available to the immune system. Peripheral tolerance mechanisms include T and B cell apoptosis, anergy, ignorance, and suppresion of autoreactivity by other means. Infective or physical tissue damage, particularly in a genetically susceptible individual, or a defect in the phagocytic removal of apoptotic cells, may terminate immunological tolerance to self-antigens, leading to autoimmune disease. It is postulated that the state of ignorance, whereby antigen and lymphocyte have not come together to induce tolerance, may also provide an important mechanism whereby autoantibodies appear, leading to autoimmunity.

References

  1. Ring GH, Lakkis FG (1999) Breakdown of self-tolerance and the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. Semin Nephrol 19:25–33PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Liang B, Mamula MJ (2000) Molecular mimicry and the role of B lymphocytes in the processing of autoantigens. Cell Mol Life Scie 57:561–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Salaman MR (2003) A two-step hypothesis for the appearance of autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity 36:57–61PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004