Giant cell arteritis, infections and biologics
To the editor,
Numerous infectious agents have been implicated in the aetiology and/or pathogenesis of systemic vasculitides through direct damage of the vessel wall or autoimmune disorders. Mechanisms by which pathogens cause autoimmunity may include molecular mimicry (cross-reactivity between pathogen-derived and self-derived epitopes), epitope spreading (the immune response to a persisting pathogen), bystander activation (non-specific activation of autoimmune cells by the inflammatory environment during infection) or immune response to cryptic antigens (subdominant epitopes which are normally hidden from T-cell recognition).
Publisher URL: http://ard.bmj.com/cgi/content/short/76/9/e29
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