Autoimmune is exactly what her name says – the body is fighting itself without a clear cause. This attack can manifest itself as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus and many others. However, what starts as a localized problem usually spreads through the body.
"Once the body loses tolerance to its own tissue comes a chain reaction that is like a fatal train," said Michael Carroll, one of the authors of the study and employee of the Children's Hospital in Boston and the Medical School at Hardvard.
The disease is devastated by the body that then begins to spread the battlefields. In the process known as the spread of the epitope, autoantibodies target more and more tissue and organic systems over time, leading to new symptoms such as joint pain, kidney damage, and severe skin rashes.
To find out how this is happening, Carroll and colleagues have zoomed in the labs of laboratory mice to test lupus progress.
"Lupus is known as a 'big imitator' because it's a disease that can have different clinical images and resemble other frequent illnesses," said Søren Degn from the Boston Children's Hospital and Aarhus University.
"It's a multi-organ illness with a multitude of potential antigen targets, affected tissues and 'immune players' in the game. Lupus is considered a prototype of autoimmune diseases, which is very interesting for study. "
Scientists used so-called " confetti technique, marking different types of diseased B cells in different colors, and then observed how the colored spots multiplied, scattered, and spread.
Image confection reveals a microscopic drama, while different colors struggle for domination and power. As time passed, the composition of the confetti changed. One color, or one type of cell, took victory.
These toxic cells have begun to transform their neighbors in themselves.
"Over time, B cells that originally produced" winning "autoantibodies began to recapture other B cells that then produced additional harmful autoantibodies – just as waves spread when throwing stones into the water," said Degn.
Scientists were surprised but excited by the results they believe would one day lead to new forms of treatment.
"Blocking germinal centers in the autoimmune response could potentially block the epitope spread," Carroll said. "If we could stop an adaptive immune system for a while, it could help the body reset its immune response and exclude its autorection."