Increasing evidence supports a role for the environment in the development of autoimmune diseases, as reviewed in the accompanying three papers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Expert Panel Workshop. An important unresolved issue, however, is the development of criteria for identifying autoimmune disease phenotypes for which the environment plays a causative role, herein referred to as environmentally associated autoimmune diseases. There are several different areas in which such criteria need to be developed, including: 1) identifying the necessary and sufficient data to define environmental risk factors for autoimmune diseases meeting current classification criteria; 2) establishing the existence of and criteria for new environmentally associated autoimmune disorders that do not meet current disease classification criteria; and 3) identifying in clinical practice specific environmental agents that induce autoimmune disease in individual patients. Here we discuss approaches that could be useful for developing criteria in these three areas, as well as factors that should be considered in evaluating the evidence for criteria that can distinguish individuals with such disorders from individuals without such disorders with high sensitivity and specificity. Current studies suggest that multiple lines of complementary evidence will be important and that in many cases there will be clinical, serologic, genetic, epigenetic, and/or other laboratory features that could be incorporated as criteria for environmentally associated autoimmune diseases to improve diagnosis and treatment and possibly allow for preventative strategies in the future.
|Titolo:||Criteria for environmentally associated autoimmune diseases|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|