Neuro-immune regulation and central nervous impact on rheumatic diseases

Neuro-immune regulation and central nervous impact on rheumatic diseases

Chronic pain and fatigue are major and severe symptoms in several rheumatic diseases, often reported by the patients to cause significant distress and reduction of quality of life. We recently published data indicating that joint inflammation in both RA and experimental arthritis affects the central nervous system (CNS), and in RA, these mechanisms seem to be related to fatigue (see publication list below). Our general research focus is the impact of inflammation on CNS and cerebral symptoms, with a special focus on central nervous mechanisms of pain regulation. For the latter, ongoing clinical studies using imaging techniques (such as fMRI, documented in studies of CNS pain processing) are combined with quantitative sensory pain testing, and the effects of biologic therapy on pain processing are investigated. Moreover, as a part of a EU funded project, pain and fatigue patterns in early RA patients are combined with proteomic analyses, for identification and validation of biological markers for generalized pain. A similar approach will also be used for mapping of neuro-markers in SLE with cerebral manifestations. In a translational approach, we also investigate the impact of arthritis on CNS, with a specific focus on central mechanisms of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway, known to be important for neuro-immune regulation in several inflammatory conditions (Borovikova, Nature 2000). Increased knowledge in bidirectional neuro-immune pathways may lead to novel therapeutic strategies of immune suppression and fatigue/pain regulation both in RA and other inflammatory diseases and pain conditions.


Group leader

Jon Lampa


Job title

MD, PhD, Associate Professor





Nerve-immune regulation, Neurology, Neuroscience


Psoriatic arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, SLE


Cell culture, Flow cytometry, Immunohistochemistry