The skin, being the largest organ of the body, is constantly attacked by a diverse array of pathogenic agents including bacteria, viruses and fungi; it also suffers from solar damage and wide fluctuations in temperature and humidity. In some individuals, the immune system, which normally offers protection against fatal external assaults, can malfunction and cause chronic inflammation in the absence of a known pathogen, resulting in a host of disorders categorized as autoimmune skin diseases. This volume contains a series of 19 review articles on a wide range of autoimmune disease processes in the skin. Featuring disorders of humoral as well as cellular immunity, it covers allergic contact dermatitis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, cutaneous lupus erythematosus, bullous pemphigoid, pemphigus foliaceus, lichen planus, vitiligo, scleroderma, alopecia areata and dermatomyositis. For these diseases, the latest insights into their etiology and pathophysiology as well as therapeutic strategies are presented by experts in the fields of dermatology, genetics, immunology and pathology. In addition, overviews of the skin as an active immune organ and of the immune privilege of the skin are included. Comprehensive and up-to-date, this book is recommended for basic and clinical researchers, allergists, immunologists, dermatologists, internists and anyone interested in autoimmunity.
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