Glossary for Autoimmune Diseases

The words of autoimmunity can be hard to learn. Below, we have compiled the most common words and expressions in this area and how they are to be interpreted.

 

 

 

B  |  C  |  D  |  E   |  F  |  G  |  H   |  I  |  J  |  K  |  L  |  M  | 
N  |  O  |  P  |  Q  |  R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |  V  |  W  | Y  |  Z 

 

 

A

Affinity
The strength of the bond between an antigen and an antibody.

Antibody
A molecule (also called an immunoglobulin) produced by a B cell in response to an antigen. The binding of antibody to antigen leads to the antigen's destruction.

Antigen
A substance or molecule that is recognized by the immune system. The molecule can be from a foreign material such as a bacterium or virus, or the molecule can be from the same organism (one's own body) and called a self antigen.

Antigen-presenting cell
A cell that displays an antigen with an MHC molecule on the cell surface.

Apoptosis
Programmed cell death (suicide)

Autoimmunity
The healthy human body is equipped with a powerful set of tools for resisting the onslaught of invading microorganisms (such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites). Unfortunately, this set of tools, known as the immune system, sometimes goes awry and attacks the body itself. These misdirected immune responses are referred to as autoimmunity, which can be demonstrated by the presence of autoantibodies or T lymphocytes reactive with host antigens.

Avidity
The overall strength with which a multivalent antibody binds with a multivalent antigen.

 

B

B cell
A type of lymphocyte, which is an immune system cell. Among its many roles, the B cell produces antibodies that bind antigens.

Barley
Barley is a common staple in human and animal diets. Part of the grass family, barley grows in over 100 countries and is one of the most popular cereal crops, surpassed only by wheat, corn and rice. Although barley is fairly adaptable and can be grown in many regions, it is a tender grain and care must be taken in all stages of its growth and harvest.

 

C

Churg-Strauss Syndrome
Eosinophilia and granulomatous inflammation of the respiratory tract with necrotizing inflammation of the small to medium-sized blood vessels; associated with asthma and eosinophilia.

Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease (celiac disease in North America) is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward. Symptoms include chronic diarrhoea, failure to thrive (in children), and fatigue, but these may be absent, and symptoms in other organ systems have been described.

Conjugate
Reagent formed by the covalent binding of two molecules; e.g., fluorescein bound to an immune molecule.

 

D

 

E

ELISA
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
The ELISA assay is a method of quantitative analysis in which one of the reagents is labeled with an enzyme - this may either be an antigen or an antibody.
Usually a microtiter plate is coated with the antigen corresponding to the target antibody. If this specific antibody is present in the blood sample, it will bind to the antigen. In the subsequent reaction step, an enzyme-conjugated secondary antibody  binds to the target antibody. Because of the enzyme, the substrate is transformed in a color staining reaction. While comparing the color reaction product with that of standards of known concentrations, the antibody concentration in the test sample can be determined.

Eosinophilia
Having a high concentration of eosinophils (eosinophil granulocytes) in the blood.

 

F

 

G

 

H

 

I

 

J

 

K

 

L

 

M

Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD)
MCTD or overlap syndrome, characterized by the overlapping symptoms of different connective tissue diseases (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus - SLE, rheumatoid arthritis - RA, scleroderma, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, Sjögren's Syndrome - SS). Typical findings are high titres of autoantibodies against ribonuclease P (U1-RNP), anti-nuclear antibodies and rheumatoid factors can be also detected besides others. Treatment of MCTD is similar to that of scleroderma or SLE.

 

 

N

NSAIDs
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

 

 

O

 

P

Pathogen
Disease-causing organism.

Primary response
Initial immune response (cellular or humoral) after the first exposure to a specific antigen.

 

Q

 

R

 

S

Scleroderma
Scleroderma, or progressive systemic sclerosis (PSS), characterized by fibrosis of the connective tissue with preferential involvement of the skin, vessels, lungs, pleura, myocardium, pericardium, esophagus, and small intestine. The cause of the multisystem disease is unknown.

 

T

 

U

 

V

 

W

Wegener's granulomatosis
Granulomatous inflammation of the respiratory tract and necrotizing vasculitis of the small to medium-sized blood vessels.
Wegener's granulomatosis belongs to the group of systemic vasculitis diseases involving small vessels.

 

 

X

 

Y

 

Z