Low-Level Autoimmunity

Although a high degree of autoimmunity is harmful, low-level autoimmunity can be beneficial to the host.

Theories supporting the self-defence mechanism of autoimmunity suggest that rather than the body losing the ability to distinguish between “self” and “non-self” substances, immune responses targeting self tissues may be the result of metabolic mechanisms that are required to maintain homeostasis of blood chemistry.

Furthermore, autoimmunity may contribute to the body’s ability to launch rapid immune responses during infection that is in the early stages, when too few pathogens or foreign antigens are actually present to stimulate a response.

In one study conducted in 2002, Stefanova and team introduced an anti-MHC Class II antibody into mice that expressed a single type of MHC Class II molecule. This prevented interaction between CD4+ T cells and MHC. This resulted in CD4+ T cells that had not yet come into contact with any antigens having a decreased response when a foreign antigen was introduced. The study therefore indicated that the body’s ability to recognise self MHC enables CD4+ T cell responsiveness in the absence of foreign antigens.

Studies have also shown that a low level of autoimmunity can help the immune system recognize tumor cells or neoplastic cells via their CD8+ T cells. This recognition can trigger apoptosis or programmed cell death of the rogue cells and therefore suppress the development of cancer.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2019, April 30). Low-Level Autoimmunity. News-Medical. Retrieved on April 02, 2023 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Low-Level-Autoimmunity.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Low-Level Autoimmunity". News-Medical. 02 April 2023. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/Low-Level-Autoimmunity.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Low-Level Autoimmunity". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Low-Level-Autoimmunity.aspx. (accessed April 02, 2023).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2019. Low-Level Autoimmunity. News-Medical, viewed 02 April 2023, https://www.news-medical.net/health/Low-Level-Autoimmunity.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
You might also like...
The safety profile and the actual known adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines in at-risk and healthy individuals