Defining criteria for autoimmune diseases (Witebsky's postulates revisited)

Immunol Today. 1993 Sep;14(9):426-30. doi: 10.1016/0167-5699(93)90244-F.


With new knowledge gained from molecular biology and hybridoma technology, as well as the original Witebsky postulates, we propose that three types of evidence can be marshalled to establish that a human disease is autoimmune in origin. They include direct evidence from transfer of pathogenic antibody or pathogenic T cells; indirect evidence based on reproduction of the autoimmune disease in experimental animals; and circumstantial evidence from clinical clues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / biosynthesis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / classification*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmunity / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Autoantibodies