Basement membranes and autoimmune diseases.
Basement membrane components are targets of autoimmune attack in diverse diseases that destroy kidneys, lungs, skin, mucous membranes, joints, and other organs in man. Epitopes on collagen and laminin, in particular, are targeted by autoantibodies and T cells in anti-glomerular basement membrane glomerulonephritis, Goodpasture's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, post-lung transplant bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, and multiple autoimmune dermatoses. This review examines major diseases linked to basement membrane autoreactivity, with a focus on investigations in patients and animal models that advance our understanding of disease pathogenesis. Autoimmunity to glomerular basement membrane type IV is discussed in depth as a prototypic organ-specific autoimmune disease yielding novel insights into the complexity of anti-basement membrane immunity and the roles of genetic and environmental susceptibility.
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