Autoimmune Disease: The Consequence of Disturbed Homeostasis

Noel R. Rose, Ian R. Mackay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The human immune system, in collaboration with other physiologic systems of the body, has evolved to provide the stable interior environment required to sustain survival and permit reproduction of the host. Collectively, the components of the immune system have been selected because they best serve that core function. Many of the elements making up the immune system have been refitted from phylogenetic predecessors. The evolutionary process culminates in a balanced array of homeostatic mechanisms for recognizing the external (or even internal) world. Because selective pressures change constantly, the immune system is highly adaptable. When that delicate balance is upset autoimmune disease, the consequence of disturbed homeostasis, may ensue. Different as they are in clinical presentation, the members of the autoimmune disease family share basic mechanisms. Examples are well illustrated in the many human diseases described in this volume. Based on a deeper understanding of the evolution of immune response itself and a broader knowledge of the fundamental features shared by the diverse autoimmune disorders, we see increasing opportunities for earlier recognition of potentially harmful autoimmunity and greater openings for interventions to interrupt its progression and to prevent irreversible pathologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Autoimmune Diseases
Subtitle of host publicationFifth Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780123849298
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Evolution
  • Homeostasis
  • Interventions
  • Maladaptation
  • Regulation
  • Shared features

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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