Professor of Biochemistry
Division of Rheumatology
Department of Internal Medicine III
Vienna General Hospital
Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Phone: +43 (0)1 40400 - 43010
FAX: +43 (0)1 40400 - 43060
Pathogenesis of systemic autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, autoantibodies, pathogenetic involvement of nucleic acid recognizing Toll-like receptors.
Pathogenetic mechanisms and diagnostic tools in rheumatoid arthritis
Systemic autoimmune diseases are charactzerized by loss of tolerance to self components that are more or less ubiquituously expressed in an organ non-specific manner. Remarkably, the majority of the pathological autoimmune reactions are directed to proteins contained in nucleic acid bearing supramolecular complexes such as nucleosomes or spliceosomes. Our long-term research interest is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms leading to loss of tolerance to these structures with a particular focus on the role of nucleic acid recognizing Toll-like receptors, especially TLR7 and TLR9. Furthermore, the involvement of the disease associated MHC II molecule HLA-DR4 in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis is studied in some detail. For these investigations we are using inducible models of rheumatoid arthritis such as collagen-induced arthritis and pristane-induced arthritis as well as transgenic mouse strains expressing human HLA-DR4 and/or TNFα.
In addition to the animal studies, investigations in patients are carried out aimed at characterizing signatures of autoantibodies and other biomarkers in human sera that might allow to predict disease outcome and response to therapy.
Biliavska I, Stamm TA, Martinez-Avila J, Huizinga TW, Landewè RB, Steiner G, Aletaha D, Smolen JS, Machold KP. Application of the 2010 ACR/EULAR classification criteria in patients with very early inflammatory arthritis: analysis of sensitivity, specificity and predictive values in the SAVE study cohort. Ann Rheum Dis 2013;72:1335-1341.
Herman S, Kny A, Schorn C, Pfatschbacher J, Niederreiter B, Herrmann M, Holmdahl R, Steiner G, Hoffmann MH. Cell death and cytokine production induced by autoimmunogenic hydrocarbon oils. Autoimmunity 2012; 45:602-11.
Hoffmann MH, Skriner K, Herman S, Baumann C, Steiner CW, Ospelt C, Meyer B, Gleiss A, Pfatschbacher J, Niederreiter B, Tuncel J, Zanoni G, Steiner G. Nucleic acid-stimulated antigen presenting cells trigger T cells to induce disease in a rat transfer model of inflammatory arthritis. J Autoimmun. 2011; 36:288-300; 2011.