Role of immunologic cross-reactivity in neurological diseases

Anne M. Ercolini*, Stephen D. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Although the immune system evolved to protect the host from foreign infection, it can sometimes recognize and attack host tissues, a phenomenon known as autoimmunity. In addition to genetic factors, environmental elements such as viruses and bacteria are thought to play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases. The major hypothesized mechanism by which infection with these agents can lead to autoimmunity is termed molecular mimicry. Here, immune responses initiated against foreign antigens are cross-reactive with self-antigens. This is thought to occur especially if the foreign antigen is similar in structure or amino acid sequence to the self-antigen. In this review, we explore evidence for the role of molecular mimicry in neurological diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-733
Number of pages8
JournalNeurological research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005


  • Autoimmunity
  • Disease models
  • Immunology
  • Molecular mimicry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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