Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome (MAS) and the Immune System

Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome (MAS) and the Immune SystemMultiple Autoimmune Syndrome (MAS) is a newly defined association of immunological disorders. It’s classified as the coexistence of three or more autoimmune diseases, one of which is a dermatological autoimmune disease such as vitiligo psoriasis or scleroderma.

Environmental triggers, including diet are thought to induce the progression of disease toward multiple disorders of immune regulation. Three types of MAS have been identified thus far. Type 1 groups myasthenia gravis, thymoma, and giant cell myasthenia. Type 2 includes Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and autoimmune thyroid disease; Type 3 includes autoimmune thyroid disease, myasthenia gravis, Sjögren’s syndrome, ITP, vitiligo, systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), and dermatitis herpetiformis.

The breakdown of self-tolerance is the common link in Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome (MAS), and a confluence of factors is thought to encourage it. Genes have been identified that lower the threshold of tolerance, such that T-cells, one of the immune system’s most important defenders, lose self-tolerance over time. These transformed T-cells begin to attack the body, rather than foreign invaders, causing extensive damage to a number of systems. In healthy body, the thymus prevents this process by destroying self-acting T-cells and other cell populations which would encourage negative transformations.

Additionally, chronic inflammation, a common feature in each disease grouped with MAS—regardless of type— is thought to create a state that promotes self-reactive T-cells by damaging genes and activating regulatory T-cells. Regulatory T-cells proved support to B-cells maturing into antibody producing cells. The prevailing hypothesis is that genes which increase the presence of self-antigens—endogenous body proteins—in the thymus prevent MAS from developing by preventing self-targeting B-cells from maturing. Damage to these genes and subsequent loss of self-recognition due to environmental toxins and high-risk behavior promotes Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome.

Some people with MAS have experienced a degree of relief when sustaining a diet that eliminates foods that cause an inflammatory response.