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Autoimmune diseases UPSC NOTE

 Autoimmune disease

  • Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which your immune system mistakenly damages healthy cells in your body.

  • If someone have an autoimmune disease, his immune system mistakes parts of his body, such as your joints or skin, as foreign. 

  • It releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells.

  • Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ

  • Type 1 diabetes damages your pancreas

  • Other conditions, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, can affect your whole body.

Research study

  • Researchers have suggested for a while that a number of immune diseases — including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren’s syndrome — are more common in females than males. 

  • In mammalian species, females typically carry two X chromosomes, while males possess one X and one Y chromosome

  • Each of the X chromosomes is inherited from the parents

  • In 1961, an English geneticist named Mary Frances Lyon argued that since females have two copies of the X chromosome, one of the X chromosomes is randomly inactivated during early embryonic development, in a process called X chromosome inactivation (XCI), to prevent the overexpression of X-linked genes in females.

  • In this process, epigenetic changes silence most genes on one X chromosome (epigenetics refers to the processes by which genes are influenced by the environment in which they operate). 

  • XCI ensures a balance in gene expression, but scientists are also learning that it plays a role in various genetic disorders

  • Issues such as incomplete inactivation (a.k.a. escape) or skewed inactivation can lead to the abnormal expression of genes, which contributes to diseases including X-linked disorders, certain cancers, and autoimmune conditions.

  • The reactivation of specific X-linked genes in response to XCI alteration varies across immune cell types, which is to say diverse molecular pathways are affected. 

  • The resulting effects in autoimmune diseases are likely due to a combination of reactivation events in different cell types and global changes in gene expression

  • The findings reinforce the molecular link between altered XCI and autoimmune diseases, and pave the way for possible new drugs to treat them in the future.

  • Another disease with a sex bias and linked to the X chromosome is Alzheimer’s disease

  • Women seem to have a higher risk of getting it; worldwide, almost twice as many women have Alzheimer’s as men.


  • In humans, the Y chromosome has been shrinking over time, so the X chromosome is possibly evolution’s best bet and thus plays a pivotal role in human health and disease

  • Its evolutionary genomics and emerging insights into its participation in biological processes illuminate the complex interplay between genetic inheritance, epigenetic modifications, and disease manifestation

  • Cracking all this to get the full picture could also lead us to new drugs and therapies.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Autoimmune diseases UPSC NOTE
Autoimmune diseases UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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