About this Research Topic
The immune system has evolved to protect the organism against infectious threats and to prevent the emergence of tumors, while preserving homeostatic immune integrity. Moreover, to avoid destruction of its own tissues, the immune system undergoes a series of developmentally ordered processes that create the basis of immune tolerance to self. Autoimmune diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis or Rheumatoid Arthritis, develop when regulatory mechanisms of self-tolerance become impaired and/or deregulated. The incidence of primary and secondary autoimmune diseases is now estimated to represent the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, after cardiovascular disease and cancer; and there is still no cure for autoimmune disease.
Since immune tolerance is not innate but is established during fetal life and postnatal development through an array of sophisticated mechanisms that take place essentially in the primary and secondary lymphoid organs, unraveling the pathways that underlie the generation of pathogenic autoimmune reactions has typically focused on the adaptive branch of the immune system, i.e. T cells, B cells, and autoantibodies. Recently, however, many laboratories have demonstrated that innate immunity can also play important roles in the initiation and/or progression of autoimmune disease. A better understanding of innate immune cells and pathways involved could lead to the design of new targeted strategies of immune intervention. This Research Topic aims to provide an overview and discussions of the recent discoveries of how innate immunity influences autoimmune diseases in a series of Review articles.
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