Molecular mimicry: Can epitope mimicry induce autoimmune disease?

Davies, Janet M. (1997) Molecular mimicry: Can epitope mimicry induce autoimmune disease?. Immunology and Cell Biology, 75 2: 113-126. doi:10.1038/icb.1997.16

Author Davies, Janet M.
Title Molecular mimicry: Can epitope mimicry induce autoimmune disease?
Journal name Immunology and Cell Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0818-9641
Publication date 1997-04
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1038/icb.1997.16
Volume 75
Issue 2
Start page 113
End page 126
Total pages 14
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Mimicry of host antigens by infectious agents may induce cross-reactive autoimmune responses to epitopes within host proteins which, in susceptible individuals, may tip the balance of immunological response versus tolerance toward response and subsequently lead to autoimmune disease. Epitope mimicry may indeed be involved in the pathogenesis of several diseases such as post-viral myocarditis or Chagas disease, but for many other diseases in which it has been implicated, such as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitis or rheumatoid arthritis, convincing evidence is still lacking. Even if an epitope mimic can support a cross-reactive T or B cell response in vitro, its ability to induce an autoimmune disease in vivo will depend upon the appropriate presentation of the mimicked host antigen in the target tissue and, in the case of T cell mimics, the ability of the mimicking epitope to induce a proliferative rather than anergizing response upon engagement of the MHC-peptide complex with the T cell receptor. B cell presentation of mimicking foreign antigen to T cells is a possible mechanism for instigating an autoimmune response to self antigens that in turn can lead to autoimmune disease under particular conditions of antigen presentation, secondary signalling and effector cell repertoire. In this review evidence in support of epitope mimicry is examined in the light of the necessary immunological considerations of the theory.
Keyword Altered peptide ligands
Epitope mimicry
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
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Created: Mon, 23 Nov 2009, 12:34:20 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Medicine - Princess Alexandra Hospital