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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Beneficial autoimmunity to proinflammatory mediators restrains the consequences of self-destructive immunity.

Therapies that neutralize the function of TNF-alpha suppress rheumatoid arthritis (RA) but not osteoarthritis (OA). We show that patients suffering from RA but not OA have significant levels of autoantibodies directed to TNF-alpha. Thus, the immune system can selectively generate autoimmunity to proinflammatory mediators when such a response is beneficial for the host. A well-defined model of RA was used to elaborate the contribution of beneficial autoimmunity to the regulation of disease. We show that during the disease autoantibody production is elicited against few inflammatory, but not regulatory, mediators. Selective amplification of these beneficial antibodies by targeted DNA vaccines provided protective immunity. Epitope mapping revealed that anti-TNF-alpha immunity is highly restricted and excretes no crossreactivity to other known gene products. Its selective exclusion substantially exacerbated the disease. Administration of anti-TNF-alpha antibodies could then override this aggravation. This substantiates the significance of beneficial autoimmunity in restraining self-destructive immunity.[1]


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