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, 21 (4), 263-73

High Avidity Cytokine Autoantibodies in Health and Disease: Pathogenesis and Mechanisms


High Avidity Cytokine Autoantibodies in Health and Disease: Pathogenesis and Mechanisms

Masato Watanabe et al. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev.


Numerous reports have documented the presence of autoantibodies working against naturally occurring cytokines in humans in health and disease. In most instances, their physiological and pathophysiological significance remains unknown. However, recent advances in the methodologies for detecting cytokine autoantibodies and their application in research focused on specific disorders have shown that some cytokine autoantibodies play an important role in the pathogenesis of disease. Additionally, levels of cytokine autoantibodies may also correlate with disease severity and progression in certain infectious and autoimmune diseases but not in others. This suggests that cytokine-specific pathogenic differences exist. While multiple lines of evidence support the notion that high avidity cytokine autoantibodies are present and likely to be ubiquitous in healthy individuals, their potential physiological role, if any, is less clear. It is believed that they may function by scavenging pro-inflammatory cytokines and thereby inhibiting deleterious 'endocrine' effects, or by serving as carrier proteins, providing a 'reservoir' of inactive cytokines and thus modulating cytokine bioactivity. A central hypothesis is that sustained or repeated high-level exposure to cytokines triggers defects in T-cell tolerance, resulting in the expansion of existing cytokine autoantibody-producing B cells.

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