Lookup NU author(s): Dr Desa Lilic
Much has been learnt about the mechanisms of thymic self-tolerance induction from work on both the rare autosomal recessive disease autoimmune polyendocrinopathy candidiasis ectodermal dystrophy (APECED) and the autoimmune regulator (AIRE) protein mutated in this disease. Normally, AIRE drives low-level expression of huge numbers of peripheral tissue-specific antigens (TSAgs) in medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs), leading to the deletion of TSAg-reactive thymocytes maturing nearby. The very recently discovered neutralizing autoantibodies (autoAbs) against Th17-related cells and cytokines in two autoimmunity-related syndromes associated with AIRE-mutant thymi or AIREdeficient thymomas help to explain the chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC) seen in both syndromes. The surprising parallels between these syndromes also demand new hypotheses and research into the consequences of AIRE deficiency and the ensuing autoimmunizing pathways, and suggest more appropriate treatment regimens as discussed in this review.
Author(s): Lilic D; Kisand K; Casanova J-L; Peterson P; Meager A; Willcox N
Publication type: Review
Journal: European Journal of Immunology
Print publication date: 13/05/2011
ISSN (print): 0014-2980
ISSN (electronic): 1521-4141