One aspect of these diseases is the formation of antibodies that are directed to self-antigens (autoantibodies). Thus, autoimmune diseases can be divided into two general groups:
- Organ specific autoimmune disease: The autoantibodies attack a specific organ.
- Example: Hashimoto thyroiditis where autoantibodies damage the thyroid gland.
- Non-organ specific/systemic autoimmune disease: The autoantibodies attack multiple organ systems.
- Example: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) where the autoantibodies may attack any organ in the body.