La persistance virale: un agent étiologique possible pour les maladies autoimmunes.
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There is increasing evidence that persistent viruses may be at the root of at least some human autoimmune diseases. It is difficult to establish a relationship between viral persistence and autoimmune disease, because neither viral persistence nor the immune response it generates can easily be demonstrated. Three mechanisms have been suggested as being implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases : molecular mimicry of cellular proteins by viral proteins, pathologically altered expression of cell membrane antigens by infected cells, and finally, the alteration of the immunosuppressive activity leading to loss of peripheral tolerance of self-reactive cytotoxic T cells. Experimental models are developed to explore these different mechanisms, which may be responsible, at least in part, for many autoimmune pathologies whose etiology is still unknown, such as multiple sclerosis or insulin-dependent diabetes.