The role of tunable activation thresholds in the dynamics of autoimmunity

Blyuss, K B and Nicholson, L B (2012) The role of tunable activation thresholds in the dynamics of autoimmunity. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 308. pp. 45-55. ISSN 1095-8541

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It has been known for some time that human autoimmune diseases can be triggered by viral infections.
Several possible mechanisms of interactions between a virus and immune system have been analysed,
with a prevailing opinion being that the onset of autoimmunity can in many cases be attributed to
‘‘molecular mimicry’’, where linear peptide epitopes, processed from viral proteins, mimic normal host
self-proteins, thus leading to a cross-reaction of immune response against virus with host cells. In this
paper we present a mathematical model for the dynamics of an immune response to a viral infection
and autoimmunity, which takes into account T cells with different activation thresholds. We show how
the infection can be cleared by the immune system, as well as how it can lead to a chronic infection or
recurrent infection with relapses and remissions. Numerical simulations of the model are performed
to illustrate various dynamical regimes, as well as to analyse the potential impact of treatment of
autoimmune disease in the chronic and recurrent states. The results provide good qualitative
agreement with available data on immune responses to viral infections and progression of autoimmune

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Autoimmunity, Mathematical model; Virus; Activation thresholds
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Mathematics
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA0299 Analysis. Including analytical methods connected with physical problems
Depositing User: Konstantin Blyuss
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2012 12:18
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2012 12:18
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