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Curr Opin Immunol. 2014 Dec;31:66-78. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2014.09.008. Epub 2014 Oct 22.

The contribution of natural selection to present-day susceptibility to chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease.

Author information

1
Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre, Montréal, Quebec H3T 1C5, Canada; Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec H3T 1J4, Canada.
2
Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre, Montréal, Quebec H3T 1C5, Canada; Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec H3T 1J4, Canada. Electronic address: luis.barreiro@umontreal.ca.

Abstract

Chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases have been the focus of many genome-wide association studies (GWAS) because they represent a significant cause of illness and morbidity, and many are heritable. Almost a decade of GWAS studies suggests that the pathological inflammation associated with these diseases is controlled by a limited number of networked immune system genes. Chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases are enigmatic from an evolutionary perspective because they exert a negative affect on reproductive fitness. The persistence of these conditions may be partially explained by the important roles the implicated immune genes play in pathogen defense and other functions thought to be under strong natural selection in humans. The evolutionary reasons for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease persistence and uneven distribution across populations are the focus of this review.

PMID:
25458997
PMCID:
PMC4344185
DOI:
10.1016/j.coi.2014.09.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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