Autoimmune diseases and infections: Controversial issues

Pierangelo Baio, Antonio Brucato, Dan Buskila, M. Eric Gershwin, Donatella Giacomazzi, Luis R. Lopez, Roberto Luzzati, Eiji Matsuura, Carlo Selmi, Piercalo Sarzi-Puttini, Fabiola Atzeni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The etiology and pathogenesis of certain types of disease remain controversial and stand like a bridge that crosses infectious, autoimmune and autoinflammatory pathways. Infection, for example, may initiate a disease, although it is the genetic regulation in the host, the interplay between virus or bacteria persistence and autoimmunity that produces the later phases of disease, the antigenic determinants responsible for inducing autoimmune disease, and the pathogenetic effector mechanisms. Infections agents cause pericarditis, but in 85% of cases it is "idiopathic". It has also been shown that persistent Clamydia pneumoniae, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Helicobacter pylori infections cause host immunity and promote atherogenesis. A number of infectious agents have been suggested as potential triggers for primary biliary cirrhosis. Infections and vaccinations have also been linked to the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia syndrome, a common, chronic syndrome of widespread pain. Many factors are also responsible for fever of unknown origin such as: infections, autoimmunity disease, etc. However, it is difficult to determine a direct correlation between the infections agents in such a large group of diseases. The aim of this review is to analyze some of the controversies about the role of infections in autoimmune diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S74-S80
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number1 SUPPL. 48
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Autoantibody-mediated atherosclerosis in antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • H. pylori-infection induced atherosclerosis
  • Pericarditis
  • Pericardium
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Pyrexia of unknown origin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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