Reactive oxygen homeostasis – the balance for preventing autoimmunity
Being mainly known for their role in the antimicrobial defense and collateral damage they cause in tissues as agents of oxidative stress, reactive oxygen species were considered “the bad guys” for decades. However, in the last years it was shown that the absence of reactive oxygen species can lead to the development of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. Animal models of lupus, arthritis and psoriasis revealed reactive oxygen species-deficiency as a potent driver of pathogenesis. On the contrary, in chronic stages oxidative stress can still contribute to progression of inflammation. It seems that a neatly adjusted redox balance is necessary to sustain an immune state that both prevents the development of overt autoimmunity and attenuates chronic stages of disease.