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A rheumatologist sees a young woman after her primary care physician treats her for nephritis (inflammation of the nephrons of the kidney). As the kidneys inflame, they begin to excrete needed protein from the body into the urine stream. Loss of necessary protein from nephritis may result in several life-threatening symptoms. Laboratory tests have been completed, and the young woman is diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Problems with the acquired or adaptive immune system cause SLE, an autoimmune disease. In an autoimmune reaction, antibodies and immune cells mistakenly target the body’s own healthy tissues, signaling the body to attack them.
10. Antigens are molecules that react with components of the adaptive immune system. Antigens that can initiate the adaptive immune response are called: