Our understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms and possible treatments of autoimmune diseases has significantly increased over the past decade. Nonetheless, numerous major issues remain open and such issues span from epidemiology to clinimetrics and from the role of infectious agents to the search for accurate biomarkers in paradigmatic conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and spondyloarthropathies. In the case of cardiovascular comorbidities of autoimmune diseases or, more generally, the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, fascinating evidence points to a central role of autoimmunity and metabolic dysfunctions and a possible role of therapies targeting inflammation to ameliorate both conditions. Basic science and translational medicine contribute to identify common mechanisms that underlie different autoimmune diseases, as in the case of tumor necrosis factor alpha, and more recently vitamin D, autoantibodies, T and B regulatory cells, and microRNA. Finally, new therapies are expected to significantly change our approach to autoimmune diseases, as represented by the recent FDA approval of the first oral JAK inhibitor. The present article moves from the major topics that were discussed at the 2013 Asian Congress of Autoimmunity in Hong Kong to illustrate the most recent data from leading journals in autoimmunity and immunology.
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