Infectious diseases and autoimmunity

Authors

  • Lucia Gemma Delogu Department of Drug Science, University of Sassari, Italy
  • Silvia Deidda Department of Clinical, Experimental and Oncological Medicine, University of Sassari, Italy
  • Giuseppe Delitala Department of Clinical, Experimental and Oncological Medicine, University of Sassari, Italy
  • Roberto Manetti Department of Clinical, Experimental and Oncological Medicine, University of Sassari, Italy

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3855/jidc.2061

Keywords:

viral infection, bacterial infection, autoreactive lymphocyte, molecular mimicry, bystander activation, epitope spreading, autoimmune disease

Abstract

Introduction: Autoimmunity occurs when the immune system recognizes and attacks host tissue. In addition to genetic factors, environmental triggers (in particular viruses, bacteria and other infectious pathogens) are thought to play a major role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

Methodology: We searched PubMed, Cochrane, and Scopus without time limits for relevant articles.

Results: In this review, we (i) describe the ways in which an infectious agent can initiate or exacerbate autoimmunity; (ii) discuss the evidence linking certain infectious agents to autoimmune diseases in humans; and (iii) describe the animal models used to study the link between infection and autoimmunity.

Conclusions: Besides genetic predisposition to autoimmunity, viral and bacterial infections are known to be involved in the initiation and promotion of autoimmune diseases. These studies suggest that pathogens can trigger autoimmunity through molecular mimicry and their adjuvant effects during initiation of disease, and can promote autoimmune responses through bystander activation or epitope spreading via inflammation and/or superantigens.

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Author Biographies

Lucia Gemma Delogu, Department of Drug Science, University of Sassari, Italy

Department of Drug Science - University of Sassari

Silvia Deidda, Department of Clinical, Experimental and Oncological Medicine, University of Sassari, Italy

Department of Clinical, Experimental and Oncological Medicine - University of Sassari

Giuseppe Delitala, Department of Clinical, Experimental and Oncological Medicine, University of Sassari, Italy

Department of Clinical, Experimental and Oncological Medicine - University of Sassari

Roberto Manetti, Department of Clinical, Experimental and Oncological Medicine, University of Sassari, Italy

Department of Clinical, Experimental and Oncological Medicine - University of Sassari

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Published

2011-10-11

How to Cite

1.
Delogu LG, Deidda S, Delitala G, Manetti R (2011) Infectious diseases and autoimmunity. J Infect Dev Ctries 5:679–687. doi: 10.3855/jidc.2061

Issue

Section

Reviews