Heterologous immunity is a common phenomenon present in all infections. Most of the time it is beneficial, mediating protective immunity, but in some individuals that have the wrong crossreactive response it leads to a cascade of events that result in severe immunopathology.
Infections have been associated with:
• Autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and lupus erythematosis,
• But also with unusual autoimmune-like pathologies where the immune system appears dysregulated, such as sarcoidosis [inflammation/tiny lumps of cells in various tissues], colitis [inflammation of colon], panniculitis [inflammation of fatty layer under the skin], bronchiolitis obliterans [inflamed/scarred small airways], infectious mononucleosis [Epstein-Barr] and even chronic fatigue syndrome.
Here we review the evidence that to better understand these autoreactive pathologies it requires an evaluation of how T cells are regulated and evolve during sequential infections with different pathogens under the influence of heterologous immunity.
Source: Autoimmunity, Jan 20, 2011. PMID: 21250837, by Selin LK, Wlodarczyk MF, Kraft AR, Nie S, Kenney LL, Puzone R, Celada f. Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Department of Clinical Epidemiology, National Institute for Cancer Research, Genoa, Italy; Department of Rheumatology, Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York, USA. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]