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Autoimmune diseases–prevention and control

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Quick bibliography: Reviews on the prevention and control of autoimmune diseases.

“An autoimmune disorder is a malfunction of the body’s immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues. ” See the Merck Manual for background information.

**Updated March 2021**

Classic review:

*Davidson, Anne & Diamond, B. (2001). Autoimmune diseases.The New England Journal of Medicine, 345 (5), 340-350. [PDF] [Cited by]

“Autoimmune diseases, with the exception of rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune thyroiditis, are individually rare, but together they affect approximately 5 percent of the population in Western countries. They are a fascinating but poorly understood group of diseases. In this review, we define an autoimmune disease as a clinical syndrome caused by the activation of T cells or B cells, or both, in the absence of an ongoing infection or other discernible cause.”

Recent reviews:

*Alexandre-Silva, G., Brito-Souza, P., Oliveira, A. C. S., Cerni, F. A., Zottich, U., & Pucca, M. B. (2018). The hygiene hypothesis at a glance: Early exposures, immune mechanism and novel therapies. Acta Tropica, 188, 16-26.  [Cited by]

“The hygiene hypothesis was proposed almost three decades ago. Nevertheless, its mechanism still remains with relevant controversies. Some studies defend that early exposures during childhood to microbes and parasites are key determinants to prevent allergies and autoimmune diseases; however, other studies demonstrated that these early exposures can even potentiate the clinical scenario of the diseases. Based on several studies covering the influences of microbiome, parasites, related theories and others, this review focuses on recent advances in the hygiene hypothesis field. In addition, the main immunological mechanisms underlying the hygiene hypothesis are also discussed. We also strongly encourage that researchers do not consider the hygiene hypothesis as a theory based strictly on hygiene habits, but a theory combining diverse influences, as illustrated in this review as the hygiene hypothesis net.

*Harnett, M. M., & Harnett, W. (2017). Can parasitic worms cure the modern world’s ills?Trends in Parasitology, 33 (9), 694-705.  [PDF] [Cited by]

There has been increasing recognition that the alarming surge in allergy and autoimmunity in the industrialized and developing worlds shadows the rapid eradication of pathogens, such as parasitic helminths. Appreciation of this has fueled an explosion in research investigating the therapeutic potential of these worms. This review considers the current state-of-play with a particular focus on exciting recent advances in the identification of potential novel targets for immunomodulation that can be exploited therapeutically. Furthermore, we contemplate the prospects for designing worm-derived immunotherapies for an ever-widening range of inflammatory diseases, including, for example, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and ageing as well as neurodevelopmental disorders like autism.”

*Lee, D. J. (2020). The relationship between TIGIT+ regulatory T cells and autoimmune disease. International Immunopharmacology, 83, 1. [Cited by] **New**

The role of regulatory T cells (Treg cell) in controlling autoimmune disease is an area of intense study. As such, the characterization and understanding the function of Treg markers has the potential to provide a considerable impact in developing treatments and understanding the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. One such inhibitory Treg cell marker that has been recently discovered is T cell immunoglobulin and ITIM domain (TIGIT). In this review, we discuss what is known about the expression and function of TIGIT on Treg cells, and we discuss the relationship between TIGIT expressing Treg cells and different autoimmune diseases such as atopic dermatitis, autoimmune thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune uveitis, aplastic anemia, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, arthritis, and colitis.“

*Sassi, F., Tamone, C., & D’Amelio, P. (2018). Vitamin D: Nutrient, hormone, and immunomodulator.Nutrients, 10 (11), 1656. [PDF] [Cited by]

“The classical functions of vitamin D are to regulate calcium-phosphorus homeostasis and control bone metabolism. However, vitamin D deficiency has been reported in several chronic conditions associated with increased inflammation and deregulation of the immune system, such as diabetes, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. These observations, together with experimental studies, suggest a critical role for vitamin D in the modulation of immune function. This leads to the hypothesis of a disease-specific alteration of vitamin D metabolism and reinforces the role of vitamin D in maintaining a healthy immune system. Two key observations validate this important non-classical action of vitamin D: first, vitamin D receptor (VDR) is expressed by the majority of immune cells, including B and T lymphocytes, monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells; second, there is an active vitamin D metabolism by immune cells that is able to locally convert 25(OH)D3 into 1,25(OH)2D3, its active form. Vitamin D and VDR signaling together have a suppressive role on autoimmunity and an anti-inflammatory effect, promoting dendritic cell and regulatory T-cell differentiation and reducing T helper Th 17 cell response and inflammatory cytokines secretion. This review summarizes experimental data and clinical observations on the potential immunomodulating properties of vitamin D.”

*Shakya, A. K., & Nandakumar, K. S. (2018). Antigen-specific tolerization and targeted delivery as therapeutic strategies for autoimmune diseases.Trends in Biotechnology, 36 (7), 686-699.  [Cited by]

“The prevalence of autoimmune disorders is increasing steadily and there is no permanent cure available. Immunomodulation through repeated exposure of antigens, known as antigen-specific immune tolerance or antigen-specific immunotherapy (ASI), is a promising approach to treat or prevent autoimmune disorders. Different optimization protocols (immunization routes, delivery systems, and approaches) are being developed to implement ASI against self-proteins. Including appropriate adjuvants, altered peptide ligand, and using multipeptides are approaches that can be used to specifically target autoimmunity. This review explores various ASI application methods, including different routes of antigen-specific sensitization, delivery systems, immunomodulators containing specific antigens, and other targeted approaches that have been successfully demonstrated to have therapeutic effects on autoimmune diseases.”

For additional research about autoimmune disorders, please see the Science Primary Literature database.

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