Nature Reviews Immunology 13, 294-302 (April 2013) | doi:10.1038/nri3407

OpinionTriggers and drivers of autoimmunity: lessons from coeliac disease

Ludvig M. Sollid1 & Bana Jabri2  About the authors


Coeliac disease, an inflammatory disease of the small intestine, shares key features with autoimmune disorders, such as susceptibility genes, presence of autoantibodies and T cell-mediated destruction of specific cells. Strikingly, however, continuous exposure to the exogenous dietary antigen gluten and gluten-specific adaptive immunity are required to maintain immunopathology. These observations challenge the notion that autoimmunity requires adaptive immune activation towards self antigens. Using coeliac disease as an example, we propose that other exogenous factors might be identified as drivers of autoimmune processes, in particular when evidence for T cells with specificity for self antigens driving the disease is lacking.

Author affiliations

  1. Ludvig M. Sollid is at the Centre for Immune Regulation and the Department of Immunology, University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital-Rikshospitalet, N-0372 Oslo, Norway.
  2. Bana Jabri is at the Departments of Medicine, Pathology and Pediatrics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.

Published online 15 March 2013