The revolutionary techniques of modern molecular and cellular biology enhance almost daily our knowledge of immunity and autoimmunity in men and experimental animals. Our fragmentary puzzle of the immune system is going to form a fascinating picture of a masterpiece of evolution. Although many of these aspects were achieved by analysis of human body fluids and tissues, the etiopathogenesis of autoimmune diseases cannot readily be analyzed without appropriate animal models. Therefore, the 7th Dresden Symposium on Autoantibodies has focused on experimental autoimmune models. The 295 attendants of the symposium listened to and discussed about the pathogenesis and therapy of autoimmunity in experimental mouse models, natural and pathogenic autoantibodies, molecular mechanisms of xenobiotic-induced autoimmunity, the genetic background of autoimmune diseases, novel autoantibodies and their pathogenic and/or clinical relevance, autoantibodies in systemic and neurological diseases, the occurrence and measurement of therapy-induced antibodies and methodical aspects as well as novel diagnostic strategies including multiplex assays for autoantibody profiling. Those who are interested to read the full length articles are referred to the book published in parallel to this meeting ([Conrad K, Bachmann MP, Chan EKL, Fritzler MJ, Humbel RL, Sack U, Shoenfeld Y, editors. From animal models to human genetics: research on the induction and pathogenicity of autoantibodies, Report on the 7th Dresden Symposium on Autoantibodies held in Dresden on September 1-4, 2004. Germany: Pabst Science Publishers; 2004.]; www.pabst-publishers.de).