The development of the hybridoma technology and the recent advances in molecular biology have opened new directions in the study of autoimmune mechanisms. Monoclonal autoantibodies can now be isolated and their structural elements may be studied in detail. In addition, the immunoglobulin genes which code for the production of antiself antibodies may now be cloned and analyzed for their structure and regulation in normal and autoimmune individuals. Initial results in this new field of molecular immunology are reviewed in this article, and their implications for the understanding of autoimmune phenomena are discussed.
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© 1986 S. Karger AG, Basel
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