Autoimmune diseases. A modern look.
There is a group of diseases related to so-called autoimmune diseases. These diseases include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Autoimmune Hepatitis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Ulcerative Colitis, and other autoimmune diseases.
How do autoimmune diseases develop?
It is obvious that autoimmune diseases got their general name, as the immune system somehow participates in their development.
Normally, the main role of the immune system is to maintain the genetic homogeneity of our body. The appearance within the organism of foreign genetic information (bacteria, viruses), or its altered genetic information (atypical cells), triggers the immune system's defensive reactions.
The cells of the immune system recognize such foreign/altered genetic information and with the help of their special protein molecules - antibodies - the carriers of foreign genetic information are destroyed and removed from the body.
It is worth noting that ordinary cells of the immune system - leukocytes and ordinary antibodies - are able to distinguish theirs from others and will never behave aggressively towards their own cells and tissues.
The development and progression of autoimmune diseases are caused by the presence in the body of an excessive amount of specific leukocytes - autoimmune leukocytes that produce autoimmune antibodies.
Unlike conventional antibodies aimed at antigens foreign to our body, autoimmune antibodies are able to bind to antigens of cells in their body and damage these cells.
Where do autoimmune (autoaggressive) antibodies come from?
Until recently, there was no clear answer to this question. It was believed that - the appearance of autoimmune antibodies in the body is some kind of malfunction in the immune system. How it happened is not clear.
Currently, approaches to the development of autoimmune diseases have changed significantly.
It has been proven that the presence of autoimmune leukocytes and autoimmune antibodies in the body is not a pathology - this is the norm
In our bodies, autoimmune mechanisms work, which include specialized cells of the immune system - autoimmune leukocytes, the cells themselves have immune responses, are capable of damaging and destroying their body, in particular, they are capable of producing autoaggressive (autoimmune) ones.
Why does nature create the system in our body which is aimed at destroying our cells and tissues?
It has been established autoimmune mechanisms perform very important functions in our body. Autoimmune mechanisms are one of the body's cleaning systems.
There are special protein molecules - identification marks (receptors, markers) - on every cell of our body, which show the belonging of every specific cell to the particular organism. Thanks to exactly these markers, ordinary cells of the immune system recognize the cells of their body and do not show hostility to them.
The cells of our body live, perform their functions, but time passes, and the cells die. And the markers of belonging to this organism stay on the outer shell of such a cell.
Only autoimmune mechanisms (autoimmune leukocytes and autoimmune antibodies) can remove such an aged, functionally inactive, or dead cell from the body.
This is not the only task of autoimmune mechanisms. There are others - no less important, the destruction of atypical, oncological cells. With a normally functioning immune system, autoimmune mechanisms, capable of damaging cells, and tissues of the body, are under strict control by special mechanisms of the immune system.
The control process mechanisms are other specialized cells of the immune system and antibodies that can destroy autoimmune white blood cells and autoantibodies.
In a normal situation, the number of autoimmune leukocytes and autoimmune antibodies is in a strictly defined range.
The normal level of autoimmune leukocytes, like many other natural processes in our body, is regulated according to the principle of feedback. This is a kind of the scales.
From time to time in our body, due to various reasons (for example, an infectious process that has resulted in the death of a large number of body cells), activation of autoimmune mechanisms occurs (that means that the number of autoimmune leukocytes and autoimmune antibodies increases).
However, in a normal situation - immediately after the autoimmune mechanisms have completed their tasks - these cells have been removed - the mechanisms behind the autoimmune processes are activated - the number of specific leukocytes and antibodies increases.
Subsequently, the destruction of an excess amount of autoimmune leukocytes and autoimmune antibodies supplied by the cells of the immune system occurs. The unbalanced system - "autoimmune mechanisms/mechanisms of control over autoimmune processes" returns to its original equilibrium state.
However, under certain conditions, the work of the mechanisms for controlling autoimmune processes is disrupted.
What are the reasons for the malfunction of the mechanisms of control over autoimmune processes?
The development of autoimmune diseases is a violation of the folded work of the immune system, which has developed as a result of:
- Environmental factors (ecology, nature of food, harmful production factors, magnetic fields)
- Lifestyle (eating habits, bad habits, physical inactivity, violation of the daily routine and circadian status, chronic stress)
- Chronic infectious processes. No one will dispute the role of chronic infections in the development of multiple sclerosis, or certain bacterial infections in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. It is chronically occurring infectious processes that are a constantly acting factor in the activation of autoimmune mechanisms. Sooner or later, such a prolonged activation of autoimmune processes leads to control mechanisms breakdown. Ultimately there is a control mechanism overstrain and a breakdown in compensation - the weakened mechanisms of control over autoimmune leukocytes cease to adequately respond to the excess content of specific autoimmune leukocytes in the body.
- Taking medications. Most of the population constantly takes 1-2 drugs, which leads to disruption of the body's homeostasis and auto-aggression. That means that a generation of autoimmune leukocytes appears in the body, to which the immune system has ceased to adequately respond.
Uncontrolled autoimmune white blood cells and autoimmune antibodies begin to destroy healthy cells in their body.
Excessive amounts of autoimmune white blood cells that are out of control of the immune system begin to damage their own healthy tissues - an autoimmune disease develops.
The nature of the disease will be determined by the specificity of the out-of-control autoimmune leukocytes. That means if the out-of-control autoimmune leukocytes are specific to myelin basic protein and other neuronal antigens - multiple sclerosis develops, if autoimmune leukocytes are specific to joint tissue antigens - rheumatoid arthritis will develop.