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Summary: Antibodies are proteins produced by a person's immune system that help the body to recognise and get rid of infection. Autoantibodies are antibodies that recognise parts of our own body. Autoantibodies can be found in healthy people, particularly as we get older, but they are also found in some autoimmune diseases. In a few specific diseases, autoantibodies are actually causing the disease e.g. Grave’s disease, myasthenia gravis.

As the immune system develops, it learns to tolerate components of our own body (“self”). There are also regulatory mechanisms that prevent the immune system attacking “self”. However, sometimes these processes fail and the immune system may start attacking our own body, resulting in inflammation and damage, and causing autoimmune disease. Autoantibodies can be a marker of the disease e.g. tissue transglutaminase antibodies in coeliac disease, or can be actually causing the disease directly e.g. by blocking hormones acting on the thyroid gland, resulting in Grave’s disease.
Language: English
Format: Online Resource
Download / Order: View online
Publisher: Lab Tests Online UK

Last updated: 04/12/2018