Diseases Home > Causes of Sarcoidosis

The exact causes of sarcoidosis are not known, although it's thought that the immune system may play a role. Certain inherited gene combinations may also be related to this condition. More research is needed before scientists can know for sure what causes this condition.

An Overview of Sarcoidosis Causes

The causes of sarcoidosis are not known. What research scientists do know is that you can't catch sarcoidosis from someone who has it. They also believe that the immune system plays a role in the development of sarcoidosis, but more research is needed to discover what actually causes it.

How the Immune System Affects Sarcoidosis

Scientists think that sarcoidosis may develop when your immune system responds to something in the environment (for example, bacteria, viruses, dust, or chemicals) or perhaps to your own body tissue (autoimmunity).
Normally, your immune system defends your body against things that it sees as foreign and harmful. It does this by sending special cells to the organs that are being affected by these harmful things. These cells release chemicals that produce inflammation around the foreign substances to isolate and destroy them.
In sarcoidosis, this inflammation remains and leads to the development of granulomas or lumps. Scientists have not yet identified the specific substance or substances that trigger the immune system response in the first place. They also think that sarcoidosis develops only if you have inherited a certain combination of genes.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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