The Immune Response
ANE is known as an immune mediated disease but is not primarily known as an autoimmune disorder. An Auto Immune disorder is described as a malfunction of the body’s immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues, it sounds the same, but we need the element of proof.
The immune system defends the body against what it perceives to be foreign or dangerous substances. Such substances can be virus’s, infections, certain cancer cells, and even transplanted organs. These substances have molecules that the immune system can identify and that can stimulate a response by the immune system. These molecules are called antigens. Antigens may be contained within cells or on the surface of cells (such as bacteria or cancer cells) or be part of a virus.
Cells in a person’s own tissues also have antigens. But normally, the immune system reacts only to antigens from foreign or dangerous substances, not to antigens from a person’s own tissues. However, the immune system sometimes malfunctions, interpreting the body’s own tissues as foreign and producing antibodies (called auto antibodies) or immune cells that target and attack particular cells or tissues of the body. This response is called an autoimmune reaction. It results in inflammation and tissue damage.
And this is where ANE whilst having the characteristic of the immune system attacking the body (brain) is not completely labelled as an auto immune disease because no antibodies have been definitively linked to ANE.
There has been evidence that some antibodies (ephrin type B receptor 2 (EphB2), have been singled out in ANE but further research & investigation is required.