Autoimmune disease and the skin by DJ Grawkrodger

There is always the risk that the well developed human immune system may react against the body's own tissues, with a failure to distinguish between "self' and "non-self'. An immune response develops which may be specific for a particular organ, such as the thyroid gland, or react against a number of different organs, as in connective tissue diseases. The skin can manifest both types of autoimumme response. The results of such reactions can be destruction of the cells concerned and the production of inflammation. There is an inherited tendency to autoimmune disease, marked by specific HLA (human lymphocyte antigen) in some cases.

The most common types of skin disease in which this autoimmune mechanism occurs are the blistering disorders, pemphigoid and pemphigus, as well as dermatitis herpetiformis.

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