Psychoneuroimmunology and Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune disease is the result of an immune reaction directed against components of the body, leading to tissue damage and organ dysfunction. Autoimmune diseases comprise a wide spectrum of diseases with, as a common factor, a chronic response against autoantigens. The etiopathogenesis of autoimmune diseases is not completely understood. Genetic predisposition associated with HLA haplotypes, inducing factors like inflammatory processes including molecular mimicry and dysregulation of the immune response, all contribute. Sex-related differences in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases have been recognized for a long time. More recent evidence derived predominantly from animal models suggests that the reactivity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis system may also be a major factor in determining susceptibility to the development of an autoimmune disease. In addition, it has become evident that, during the course of an autoimmune disease, alterations in the interaction between the neuroendocrine and immune systems take place on the level of expression of receptors for neuroendocrine mediators.
KeywordsSystemic Lupus Erythematosus Autoimmune Disease Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Streptococcal Cell Wall Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient
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