Researchers reveal that dysfunction of the thymus is involved in more and more organ-specific autoimmune diseases.
Two recent articles present evidence that two major disease are determined by defective thymic tolerance: Graves' disease and myocarditis.
In a first article Roger Colobran et al. (http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/20/17/3415.abstract ) demonstrate that defective central tolerance contributes to the pathogenesis of Graves’ disease (GD), one of the most serious endocrine autoimmune diseases where the thyroid becomes overactive.
In the second article, HuiJuan Lv and al. (http://www.jci.org/articles/view/44583) show that autoimmune responses favor progression from myocarditis to dilated cardiomyopathy and cause major heart disease in young patients. Myocarditis is a major cause of heart disease and a common precursor of heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy.
These results thus support a role for T cell–specific therapies for both diseases.