The receptors for the Fc of immunoglobulins, Fc receptors (FcRs), link the humoral and cellular branches of the immune system, and they have important functions in the activation and down-modulation of immune responses. Balanced signalling through activating and inhibitory FcRs regulates the activity of various cells in the immune system. Recent work in animal models indicates that the development of many human autoimmune diseases might be caused by impairment of the FcR regulatory system. This review provides an overview of the mechanisms of FcR-based immune regulation and describes how autoimmune disease might result from its dysfunction.
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