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Rom J Intern Med. 2014;52(3):189-91.

The role of heavy metals in autoimmunity.


Our understanding of autoimmune diseases has progressed tremendously in the past 20 years. Estimates of the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in the population may be 4% or higher. It is evident that heavy metals present serious risk to human health. Heavy metals are capable of altering the immune response; they have been implicated in influencing autoimmunity. In fact, they are usually inhibitory to immune cell proliferation and activation. This paper reviews the possible mechanisms which may play a role in metal-induced autoimmunity. A better understanding of these interactions remains a priority for the future.

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