Autoimmune diseases affect 3-5% of the population, are mediated by the immune response to self-Ags, and are characterized by the site of tissue destruction. We compared expression levels of >4,000 genes in PBMC of control individuals before and after immunization to those of individuals with four distinct autoimmune diseases. The gene expression profile of the normal immune response exhibits coordinate changes in expression of genes with related functions over time. In contrast, each individual from all autoimmune diseases displays a similar gene expression profile unrelated to the pattern of the immunized group. To our surprise, genes with a distinct expression pattern in autoimmunity are not necessarily "immune response" genes, but are genes that encode proteins involved in apoptosis, cell cycle progression, cell differentiation, and cell migration.