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Infections as Triggers of Autoimmunity

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 12967

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Internal Medicine and Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece
Interests: autoimmunity; autoimmune diseases; diet; immunosupression; immunoregulation; microbiome; nutrition; rheumatic diseases
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A wealth of data over the years has led researchers to suspect that autoimmune diseases could be triggered or caused by infectious agents. This has led authorities in the filed such as Yehuda Shoenfeld and Noel Rose to suggest that ‘autoimmune diseases are infectious until proven otherwise’. Infections, in particular viruses, but also bacteria and other infectious pathogens, can cause autoimmunity through different mechanisms including direct tissue damage and exposure to self-cryptic antigens; ‘bystander activation’, molecular mimicry, and epitope spreading are few of the various mechanisms an infectious agent can adopt or use to induce infection.

Epidemiological evidence in support of a causal link between particular infections and specific autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, autoimmune rheumatic diseases, autoimmune liver disorders, and others has been provided. Immunological studies showing that antibodies or cellular responses against foreign pathogens may elicit autoimmune responses manifested as autoantibody or T-cell responses against disease-specific autoantigens have been provided in human and animal studies. Furthermore, several animal models of autoimmune diseases have replicated data, which document the induction of autoimmune diseases following infection with specific pathogens, especially in susceptible animals. In recent years, a lot of attention has been given to the decisive role played by the microbiome in shaping a state of dysbiosis, which is imperative for the loss of immunological breakdown and the development of autoimmune diseases.

This Special Issue is open to articles that discuss all aspects related to the link between infection and autoimmunity.

Prof. Dr. Dimitrios P. Bogdanos
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • autoimmunity
  • autoimmune disease
  • virus
  • infection
  • molecular mimicry
  • microbiome

Published Papers (2 papers)

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11 pages, 1459 KiB  
Article
T-Cell Response against Varicella Zoster Virus in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis during Relapse and Remission
by Miriam Pérez-Saldívar, Graciela Ordoñez, Benjamín Pineda, Julio Sotelo, Adolfo Martínez-Palomo, José Flores-Rivera and Martha Espinosa-Cantellano
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(1), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23010298 - 28 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2640
Abstract
An association between varicella zoster virus (VZV) and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been reported in Mexican populations. The aim of this study was to compare the response of T cells from MS patients, during relapse and remission, to in vitro stimulation with VZV, [...] Read more.
An association between varicella zoster virus (VZV) and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been reported in Mexican populations. The aim of this study was to compare the response of T cells from MS patients, during relapse and remission, to in vitro stimulation with VZV, adenovirus (AV) and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV). Proliferation and cytokine secretion of T cells from 29 relapsing-remitting MS patients and 38 healthy controls (HC) were analyzed by flow cytometry after stimulating with VZV, AV or EBV. IgG and IgM levels against VZV and EBV were quantified using Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay. Relapsing MS patients showed a higher percentage of responding CD4+ and CD8+ T cells against VZV compared to AV. In HC and remitting MS patients, proliferation of CD4+ T cells was higher when stimulated with VZV as compared to EBV. Moreover, T cells isolated from remitting patients secreted predominantly Th1 cytokines when cell cultures were stimulated with VZV. Finally, high concentration of anti-VZV IgG was found in sera from patients and controls. The results support previous studies of an VZV-MS association in the particular population studied and provide additional information about the possible role of this virus in the pathogenesis of MS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infections as Triggers of Autoimmunity)
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13 pages, 659 KiB  
Review
Adaptive Immunity and the Risk of Autoreactivity in COVID-19
by Rhiane Moody, Kirsty Wilson, Katie L. Flanagan, Anthony Jaworowski and Magdalena Plebanski
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(16), 8965; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22168965 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 9434
Abstract
While first and foremost considered a respiratory infection, COVID-19 can result in complications affecting multiple organs. Immune responses in COVID-19 can both protect against the disease as well as drive it. Insights into these responses, and specifically the targets being recognised by the [...] Read more.
While first and foremost considered a respiratory infection, COVID-19 can result in complications affecting multiple organs. Immune responses in COVID-19 can both protect against the disease as well as drive it. Insights into these responses, and specifically the targets being recognised by the immune system, are of vital importance in understanding the side effects of COVID-19 and associated pathologies. The body’s adaptive immunity recognises and responds against specific targets (antigens) expressed by foreign pathogens, but not usually to target self-antigens. However, if the immune system becomes dysfunctional, adaptive immune cells can react to self-antigens, which can result in autoimmune disease. Viral infections are well reported to be associated with, or exacerbate, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In COVID-19 patients, both new onset MS and SLE, as well as the occurrence of other autoimmune-like pathologies, have been reported. Additionally, the presence of autoantibodies, both with and without known associations to autoimmune diseases, have been found. Herein we describe the mechanisms of virally induced autoimmunity and summarise some of the emerging reports on the autoimmune-like diseases and autoreactivity that is reported to be associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Infections as Triggers of Autoimmunity)
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