Home > Health A – Z > Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune Disease

Disease that results when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues. Examples include multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

About Autoimmune Disease

Your immune system is the network of cells and tissues throughout your body that work together to defend you from viruses, bacteria, and infection. It tries to identify, kill, and eliminate the invaders that might hurt you.

What happens in autoimmune diseases?

Autoimmune diseases refer to problems with the acquired immune system's reactions. Immune cells target the body's own healthy tissues by mistake, signaling the body to attack them....Read more about Autoimmune Disease
NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Interventions for mucous membrane pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (rare autoimmune blistering diseases of the skin, eyes and mouth)

Mucous membrane pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita are rare autoimmune blistering diseases of the skin and mucous membranes (eyes and mouth). They can result in scarring, which may lead to disabling and life threatening complications. Treatments include corticosteroids, mycophenolate mofetil and cyclophosphamide to suppress the immune system, and less toxic drugs such as antibiotics. These diseases often progress despite treatment. There is some evidence that mucous membrane pemphigoid involving the eyes may respond better to treatment with cyclophosphamide combined with corticosteroids, compared to treatment with corticosteroids alone. Cyclophosphamide is, however, associated with potentially severe adverse effects. Dapsone may help moderate disease. More research is needed to identify the most effective treatment options.There is not enough reliable evidence about treatments for the rare blistering diseases, mucous membrane pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita.

The Fc receptor-like 3 gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to autoimmune diseases: an updated meta-analysis

Previous studies have identified several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of Fc receptor-like 3 (FCRL3), an excellent susceptibility gene, as predisposing factors for human autoimmune diseases (ADs). However, the results remain inconclusive. To assess the effect of four selected SNPs (rs7528684, rs11264799, rs945635 and rs3761959), we conducted a meta-analysis with 34 case-control studies. Summary odd ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for the polymorphisms in FCRL3 and ADs risk were evaluated. Furthermore, this meta-analysis was performed by using allele comparisons, as well as stratified analyses by ethnicity and disease phenotypes under different genetic models. Our data showed that the TC, TT + TC genotypes of rs7528684 contributed to a lower risk of ADs, compared with the CC carriers (OR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.85-0.97; OR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.85-0.98). In comparison with rs7528684 TC genotype, the TT + CC carriers were significantly associated with higher ADs risk (OR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.00-1.07). In terms of stratified analyses by ethnicity and disease phenotypes, there were significant associations of rs7528684 polymorphism both with ADs in Asians and Europeans, and with rheumatoid arthritis, Graves' disease, type-1 diabetes, and other ADs under different genetic models. Moreover, significant associations were also found to be correlated with ADs risk for the SNP rs11264799 in mixed subgroup, for rs945635 in Europeans, North Americans and mixed group, and for rs3761959 in North Americans. These findings indicate that the polymorphisms in FCRL3 may play a role in the pathogenesis of ADs.

CD226 Gly307Ser association with multiple autoimmune diseases: a meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: Recently, there has been increasing evidence shown that a non-synonymous exchange (Gly307Ser/rs763361) of the CD226 gene on chromosome 18q22 is linked to several autoimmune diseases (ADs) including type 1 diabetes (T1D), celiac disease (CED), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), Grave's disease, Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), psoriasis, and primary sicca syndrome (pSS). Taking into consideration that different autoimmune diseases may share some common pathogenic pathways and in order to assess the overall relationship between CD226 Gly307Ser (rs763361) polymorphism and multiple autoimmune diseases, we performed this meta-analysis.

See all (290)

Summaries for consumers

Interventions for mucous membrane pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (rare autoimmune blistering diseases of the skin, eyes and mouth)

Mucous membrane pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita are rare autoimmune blistering diseases of the skin and mucous membranes (eyes and mouth). They can result in scarring, which may lead to disabling and life threatening complications. Treatments include corticosteroids, mycophenolate mofetil and cyclophosphamide to suppress the immune system, and less toxic drugs such as antibiotics. These diseases often progress despite treatment. There is some evidence that mucous membrane pemphigoid involving the eyes may respond better to treatment with cyclophosphamide combined with corticosteroids, compared to treatment with corticosteroids alone. Cyclophosphamide is, however, associated with potentially severe adverse effects. Dapsone may help moderate disease. More research is needed to identify the most effective treatment options.There is not enough reliable evidence about treatments for the rare blistering diseases, mucous membrane pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa acquisita.

Corticosteroid regimens for treatment of acute and chronic graft versus host disease (GvHD) after allogenic stem cell transplantation

Corticosteroids are commonly used to treat acute and chronic graft‐versus‐host disease (GvHD) but their effect on length and quality of life of patients has not been studied systematically. In this systematic review, we tried to compare the effect of treatment regimens used for GvHD in the absence and presence of corticosteroids, or with different doses of corticosteroids. After searching relevant sources, we located only two studies that met our criteria to be included in the study. Their results are described in detail in the text of the review. In brief, these studies are in favor earlier remission and slightly better outcome in patients but more evidence is needed in this field.

Extracorporeal photopheresis treatment for chronic graft‐versus‐host disease after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation in paediatric patients

Chronic graft‐versus‐host disease is a common complication after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT; transplant of blood‐forming stem cells). Immune cells (white blood cells) from the donor recognise the patient's cells as foreign ('non‐self'). Therefore, the transplanted immune cells attack the cells of the patient. The main affected organs are skin, liver and gut, among others. These immune reactions may cause acute inflammation (sudden swelling) followed by chronic (long‐term) changes of organs (e.g. fibrosis; scarring of the lungs). First‐line therapy usually consists of immunosuppressive drugs (which reduce the strength of the body's immune system) in the form of corticosteroids in combination with other immunosuppressive agents in refractory cases (where the disease is resistant to treatment). These drugs are supposed to suppress the immune‐mediated attack of the patient's cells. Limited effectiveness and severe side effects of these drugs have led to the application of several alternative approaches.

See all (82)

More about Autoimmune Disease

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...