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Autoimmune diseases (Altgr autos = self) are diseases in which the immune system recognizes its own body tissue as alien. The triggered immune reaction is directed against the own body. As a result, severe limitations of natural body functions may occur. Much of the autoimmune disease can also be fatal.
Practically every body organ and every body tissue can be affected by an autoimmune disease (see table below). The exact causes are currently unknown. A possible theory for the emergence suggests that single, defective antibodies enter the bloodstream from the thymus, which also react to the body's own proteins and recognize it as an antigen.
The thymus belongs to the lymphatic organs of the body. There, both the conversion of lymphocytes to T lymphocytes, as well as their multiplication. Only T lymphocytes without reaction (immune tolerance) on the body's own proteins, usually return to the systemic circulation. On average, this is about 5% to 15% of the total number of T lymphocytes produced. The rest are destroyed in the thymus gland itself.
One option for the treatment of some autoimmune diseases is the administration of immunosuppressants for immunosuppression.
List of known autoimmune diseases
|Autoimmune disease||affected organs / tissues|
|Diabetes mellitus 1||pancreas|
|ankylosing spondylitis||spinal column|
|multiple sclerosis||Myelin sheaths of nerve cells|
|celiac Disease||small intestine|