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Endocrine autoimmunity 

Endocrine autoimmunity
Chapter:
Endocrine autoimmunity
Author(s):

Matthew J. Simmonds

and Stephen C. L. Gough

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199235292.003.1031
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date: 16 June 2019

Dysfunction within the endocrine system can lead to a variety of diseases with autoimmune attack against individual components being some of the most common. Endocrine autoimmunity encompasses a spectrum of disorders including, e.g., common disorders such as type 1 diabetes, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and rarer disorders including Addison’s disease and the autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes type 1 (APS 1) and type 2 (APS 2) (see Table 1.6.1). Autoimmune attack within each of these diseases although aimed at different endocrine organs is caused by a breakdown in the immune system’s ability to distinguish between self and nonself antigens, leading to an immune response targeted at self tissues. Investigating the mechanisms behind this breakdown is vital to understand what has gone wrong and to determine the pathways against which therapeutics can be targeted. Before discussing how self-tolerance fails, we first have to understand how the immune system achieves self-tolerance.

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