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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Apr;65(7-8):1161-75. doi: 10.1007/s00018-007-7312-7.

Molecular mimicry in neurological disease: what is the evidence?

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Research Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 1030 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104, USA.


Autoimmune diseases are a leading cause of disability and are increasing in incidence in industrialized countries. How people develop autoimmune diseases is not completely understood, but is related to an interaction between genetic background, environmental agents, autoantigens and the immune response. Molecular mimicry continues to be an important hypothesis that explains how an infection with an environmental agent results in autoimmune disease of the nervous system and other target organs. Although molecular mimicry has yet to be unequivocally proven, in the past several years there has been a sharpening of its definition with better experimental data implicating it as a cause of neurological disease in humans.

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