Animal Models of Autoimmunity
Better understanding of autoimmune disease has been facilitated by many experimental studies in animal models. Several animal models have been developed, each sharing some char-acteristics of a human disease of autoimmune etiology. These animal models often provide only the experimental approaches to the study of pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. In some animal models, autoimmune diseases are induced by injecting normal animals with antigens extracted from the human target tissues, resulting in an autoimmune disease with a rapid onset and an acute course.
The usual models used are mice and rats. Experimentally induced autoimmune diseases in these animals include (a) myasthenia gravis, (b) multiple sclerosis, (c) rheumatoid arthritis, and (d) Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.