By combining epidemiologic and –omics data from large patients’ cohorts and in vitro studies in primary human cells, our group aims to understand the interplay between metabolism and inflammation in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory joint disease affecting about 1% of the Swedish population, as well as systemic sclerosis, a rare and complex rheumatic disease affecting the immune system, the microvascular system, and the connective tissue in different organs.
Project: Role of bariatric surgery in the prevention of rheumatic diseases
Our group studied the effect of obesity surgery (also known as bariatric surgery) on the development of inflammatory joint disease in a large intervention study, the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study including more than 4000 subjects affected by obesity. We have shown that bariatric surgery decreases the incidence of gout in subjects with obesity (Maglio C et al, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2017). In the same cohort, we have also shown that bariatric surgery is associated with a lower incidence of psoriasis (Maglio C et al, Obesity 2017). On the contrary, we did not detect any association between bariatric surgery and the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis in participants of the SOS study followed up for up to 29 years (Maglio C et al, Rheumatology (Oxford) 2020).
Project: Adiponectin and rheumatoid arthritis
Our group has demonstrated that high serum adiponectin levels at baseline are associated with an increased risk to develop rheumatoid arthritis in the future in subjects with obesity followed up for up to 29 years (Zhang Y et al, Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 2020). The association between baseline levels of adiponectin and risk of future development of RA in subjects with overweight/obesity has also been confirmed in an independent cohort (Zhang Y et al, Journal of Clinical Medicine 2021). In patients with untreated newly diagnosed RA, circulating adiponectin levels are associated with pro-inflammatory chemokines involved in RA pathogenesis as well as markers of inflammation (Vasileiadis, G.K et al, Biomolecules 2021). In in vitro cultured human primary fibroblast like synoviocytes, human recombinant adiponectin can induce the production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines (Zhang Y et al, Frontiers in Immunology 2021).