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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 51

by Dr. M. Zouali, Institut Pasteur, Paris (France)

This book (NATO ASI SERIES H80) reviews the state_of_the_art of the intensive worldwide research activity devoted to the field of autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases. A sharp focus is placed on innovative approaches and on novel experimental and molecular strategies used to unravel the origin of organ_specific and systemic autoimmunity. It opens with studies on thymic selection and peripheral T cell tolerance, and on B_cell repertoire selection. When mature T cells encounter tissue_specific antigens not present in the thymus, tolerance mechanisms operating in the periphery are triggered and, depending on the tolerogenic signals, T cells reach various levels of tolerance either in one or in several consecutive steps. The question of how T cells escape tolerance induction in autoimmune diseases is investigated in three model systems: (i) the autoimmune disease of NOD mice which parallels that of progressive type_1 human diabetes with destruction of insulin_producing beta cells in the Langerhans islets of the pancreas. (ii) autoimmune gastritis where autoantibodies to the proton pump of parietal cells correlate with the severity of the disease. (iii) the autoimmune response of the self_antigen myelin basic protein which is responsible for a T cell_mediated demyelating disease of the central nervous system, experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, an animal model of multiple sclerosis. The second part of the book deals with identification of the targets of autoimmune attack, including screening of expression libraries using antibodies of the patients and the use of synthetic peptides from antigens recognized by antibodies of autoimmune subjects. The subsequent papers deal with experimental results on a wide range of the driving forces that underly the production of pathogenic autoantibodies in systemic autoimmunity with substantial information on their variable region genes. A thread common to several chapters is the probing of the T_cell receptor repertoire in relation to autoimmunity and the role played by the genetic background in disease susceptibility and clinical expression of autoimmune diseases. There are also a number of papers concerned with the use of animal models to unravel the origin of autoimmune diseases. Finally, the volume reflects the wealth of work in the area of research on immunointervention with successful passive therapies using MHC class II peptides in the prevention of experimental models of autoimmune diseases and the advantage of actively induced specific effector mechanisms.

The present volume, as a whole, raises pertinent questions and concentrates on critical and current topics of contemporary autoimmunity. Its publication is very critical and looks at current topics of contemporary autoimmunity. Its publication is very timely, especially considering the recent advances in the techniques and analytical concepts of immunology, molecular genetics, cell biology and transgenesis. It will be of interest to immunologists, rheumatologists, pathologists, dermatologists, and nephrotologists.
Reference books: H38, H80

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