Maria Bokarewa

Professor/ Chief Physician

Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Visiting address
Guldhedsgatan 10A, plan 1
41346 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 480
40530 Göteborg

About Maria Bokarewa

Maria Bokarewa completed her doctorate in 1991 at the National Academy of Science in Moscow, Russia and in 1995 at the Karolinska institute in Stockholm. She received fellowships from the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Stockholm, and continued postdoctoral fellowship through 1995-1998 at the Coagulation Research Unit at KI, where she carried out studies on the genetic factors and sex hormones, which regulate human blood coagulation.

In June 1998 she started clinical duties at the Rheumatology Clinic of the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in combination with research studies in inflammation and immunology and since that time she studies molecular mechanisms of inflammation and bone damage in rheumatoid arthritis. Maria Bokarewa became associated professor in 2004 and full professor in Translational Rheumatology in March 2012. Maria Bokarewa was awarded the TrioLab Prize in 1995, the Nordic Prize in Rheumatology 2004 and received awards of the Swedish Rheumatology Association 2003, 2004 and 2013, for her studies in rheumatoid arthritis.

Main research

Targeted therapy and immune regulation in autoimmune arthritis - Terapi och immunreglering vid autoimmun artrit

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common inflammatory joint disease affecting about 1% of the population worldwide. If untreated it results in significant disability within only a few years from start. Additionally, RA is associated with increased cardiovascular risk and mortality. Our research focuses on the mechanisms of inflammation and aberrant immune responses in autoimmune arthritis.

On-going projects:

  • Proto-oncogenes as predictors, effectors and therapeutic targets in autoimmune arthritis
  • Formation of autoreactive B cells in rheumatoid arthritis
  • Molecular functions and interactions of survivin linked in cellular pathology
  • Post-translational modifications of proteins as a source of immune activation and break of self-tolerance
  • Adipose tissue deviations and cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis

In the established inception cohort we study the predictive value of proto-oncogenes for development of arthritis as effectors and as therapeutic targets in inflammation and autoimmune arthritis. Assessment of intracellular mechanisms of inflammatory and growth factor triggered signal transduction and transcription control including epigenetics and micro-RNA biogenesis is in focus of our attention. Signal molecules derived from adipose tissue in inflammation, pain perception and cardiovascular complications in rheumatoid arthritis.

We study the role of environmental factors, such as infections, nicotine, and ethanol in regulation of immune responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis paying special attention to the role of infection for the post-translational modifications of proteins as a source of immune activation and breach of self-tolerance.

It is important to appreciate that each of these projects are innovative and uses unique tools. In our research, we work with several mouse models of autoimmune arthritis. The strength of our environment is the close collaboration between basic researchers and clinicians that enables fore-front clinical trials and work with human materials etc.

Group Members


The group has a broad network of research collaborators within Sweden, Europe and the USA, researchers with different specialties ranging from rheumatologists and immunologists to researchers in molecular chemistry and biological engineering. The group took active part in consortia within the cooperation program of the European Commission (FP7-Health-2010-261460), and the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (CMR) Centre at the Sahlgrenska Academy supported by Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research. The group participated in several national research programs supported by the Swedish Research Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA). Since 2006 the group is a member of the European student exchange program ERASMUS. Since 2014 we are a part of EULAR Center of Excellence.

Theses defense

2005, Tao Jin, “Plasminogen activators in Staphylococcal arthritis” 2009, Elisabeth Boström Almer, ”The role of resistin in inflammation” 2010, Sofia Silfverswärd Lindblad, “Role of environmental toxins in chronic experimental arthritis – in search for anti-inflammatory pathways of ethanol and nicotine” 2011, Li Bian, “The role of S100A4 protein as a regulator of inflammation and bone metabolism in experimental arthritis” 2012, Mats Dehlin,”Differentiation factor Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand is a modulator of cell responses in autoimmune diseases”. 2012 Maria Rehnberg (co-supervisor, main supervisor Mikael Brisslert), “The role of B cells in rheumatoid arthritis” 2013, Jacub Kweichinski (co-supervisor, main supervisor Tao Jin), “Bacteria-host interplay in Staphylococcus aureus infection” 2014, Mattias Svensson, ”The role of Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 signalling in the modulation of immune responses in experimental arthritis”; 2014, Jessica Wahlgren (co-supervisior, main supervisor Hadi Valadi), ”Intercellular communications via exosomes”. 2014, Sofia Andersson, “Linking fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 and urokinase signalling to survivin expression in experimental arthritis”; 2019, Caroline Wasén, the thesis defence “Smoking and co-stimulation of T cells in rheumatoid arthritis” is schedules for May 10th, 2019. Faculty opponent professor Bent Deleuran, University of Aarhus, Denmark.