autoreactive antibodies

David E Bell bell at
Thu Mar 4 12:35:39 EST 1993

Last month I spent lots of hours thinking about autoimmune diseases and
there's one fact I really can't understand ! Many, especially older, books
explain autoimmunity with reacting antibodies against self-epitopes.
There are good examples of diseases were antibodies may play the main role. Thisis for instance thyreoditis and LE. 
The problem:
Especially in LE all people are speaking of ab against dna. But dna is normally
inside the cell and not presented on the surface ! Normally I would think 
antibodies can't do anything against intracellular epitopes, but nobody is
discussing this...
I think in a process of inflammation ab's could enhance the situation by
accumulating at sites were cells have been already destroyed. But how can
an ab against dna kill a healthy cell ??
Maybe anybody could give me some ideas of the role of anti intracellular
antibodies in autoimmune disease...

Thanks a lot for any reply !!

Tom Pasternak
University of Aberdeen / Immunology

e-mail: ugn4501 at

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