Autoimmune and inflammatory diseases – novel treatment strategies – Wermeling

Inflammation is the host response following exposure to pathogens. This involves activation of the immune system that is built up by multiple, often overlapping, layers represented by cells, physical barriers and soluble factors working together to stop the invading pathogen.

Non-infectious conditions can also trigger inflammation, sometimes referred to as sterile inflammation to highlight the absence of pathogens. This is fiercely seen in patients with autoimmune diseases, where self-tissues become the target for the immune activation, e.g. the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). These diseases affect as much as 5% of the population and can lead to lifelong morbidity as well as to directly life-threatening situations.

Progress has been made regarding treatment alternatives for these patients. Still, novel treatments based on deeper understanding of the diseases is needed.

The general goal of our research is to use a translational approach to further understand inflammation, and thereby identify novel drug targets and biomarkers.

The current studies are based the unexpected finding that the anti-inflammatory drug IVIG depends on IL-4 receptor (IL-4R) induced STAT6 signaling, and the recent finding that the IL-4R is highly regulated during inflammation by an acute phase reactant. Together this identify that this pathway and its regulation are interesting drug targets.

This signaling pathway is studied in model systems and in patients with autoimmune diseases. A major focus is to identify the IL-4R regulating factor and understand its IL-4R regulatory activity on a molecular level by identifying involved receptors and signaling pathways. This will be accomplished by combining mass spectrometry, microarray analysis and the generation of novel monoclonal antibodies. There are indications for that this pathway could be defect in patients, and this will be further explored in patients and model system by overexpressing or blocking the factor.

 

If you would like to support this area of research you could do that by using the following accounts:

BG 628-4418
PG 514114-8
State: Fredrik Wermeling

If you are outside of Sweden, please use the following information:

Bank: SEB, Stockholm, Sweden
Account No. 5201-11 370 12
Iban-number: SE16 5000 0000 0520 1113 7012
Bic-code (the bank´s electronic address): ESSESESS
Account holder: Center for Molecular Medicine Foundation
L8:05, Karolinska University Hospital
171 76 Stockholm, Sweden

CMM Research Groups

NEUROGENETICS AND PSYCHIATRIC DISEASES

GENETIC DISEASES

INFLAMMATORY DISEASES

Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases