molecular mimicry(redirected from Antigenic mimicry)
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Related to Antigenic mimicry: Antigenic variation
molecular mimicryImmunology A mechanism that may explain some forms of autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks self antigens that are structurally similar to nonself antigens
Antigenic similarity between molecules found on some disease-causing microorganisms and on specific previously healthy body cells or tissues. Molecular mimicry is one explanation for autoimmune diseases. After infection with a microorganism whose surface contains antigens similar to those found in the body, the immune system may respond inappropriately by trying to damage these cells with similar surface antigens in otherwise healthy joints, blood vessels, or other organs.