Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmunity is a prerequisite for autoimmune disease. However, the events that lead from autoimmunity to an overt inflammatory disease are still unclear. Production and release of TNF seems to be important for this step, but the exact role of this cytokine is far from being elucidated (Green and Flavell 2000). Without any doubt, autoreactive T cells are not only associated with autoimmune diseases but can directly cause the disease. Analysis from mice with non obese diabetes (NOD) revealed that both, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are required for the induction of both, autoimmune inflammation and autoimmune disease (Bendelac et al. 1987). Similarly, transfer of MBP-reactive T cells (Mokhtarian et al. 1984) and even more precisely, MBP-reactive CD4+ T cells of the Th1 phenotype alone are capable of inducing severe autoimmune encephalitis, when transferred into naive mice (Racke et al. 1994).

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