T-cell versus B-cell-mediated autoimmune disease
Autoimmune disease may be mediated primarily by T cells, as in multiple sclerosis or the animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In that case, disease can be transmitted from one animal to another by transfering antigen-specific T lymphocytes. Alternatively, autoimmune disease may be caused by B cells that produce autoantibodies, as in the case of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Autoantibodies bind to self antigen (proteins, nucleic acids, or other molecules from one’s own body, also known as autoantigens) and can damage cells either by binding directly to a cell surface or extracellular matrix antigen or through the formation of immune complexes.