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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.


Selected publications


J Lindqvist, L Alfredsson, L Klareskog, J Lampa*, H Westerlind* (*contributed equally). Unmet Needs in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Subgroup of Patients With High Levels of Pain, Fatigue, and Psychosocial Distress 3 Years After Diagnosis. ACR Open Rheumatology 2022 (Epub ahead of print)

ML Hetland, EA Haavardsholm, A Rudin, D Nordström, M Numohamed, B Gudbjörnsson, J Lampa, K Hørslev-Petersen, T Uhlig, G Gröndal, M Østergaard, MS Heiberg, J Twisk, K Lend, S Krabbe, J Lindqvist, AK Hultgård Ekwall, K Lederballe Grøn, M Kapetanovic, F Faustini, R Tuompo, T Lorenzen, G Cagnotto, E Baecklund, O Hendricks, D Vedder, T Sokka-Isler, T Husmark, MK Aga Ljoså, E Brodin, T Ellingsen, A Söderbergh, M Rizk, Å Reckner Olsson, P Larsson, L Uhrenholt, S Andreas Just, DJ Stevens, T Bay Laurberg, G Bakland, IC Olsen, RF van Vollenhoven and the NORD-STAR study group*. Active conventional therapy and three different biological treatments in early rheumatoid arthritis: Phase IV investigator-initiated, randomized, observer-blinded clinical trial. BMJ 2020; Dec 2; 371:m4328 | doi: 10.1136/bmj.m4328

A Sandström, I Ellerbrock, KB Jensen, S Martinsen, R Altawil, P Hakeberg, P Fransson, J Lampa, E Kosek. Altered cerebral pain processing of noxious stimuli from inflamed joints in rheumatoid arthritis: an event-related fmri study. Brain Behavior Immun, 2019 Jun 19.

PE Khoonsari, E Ossipova, J Lengqvist, CI Svensson, E Kosek, D Kadetoff, P-J Jakobsson, K Kultima, J Lampa. The human CSF Pain proteome. Proteomics. 2019 Jan 6;190:67-76.

J Lampa, M Westman, D Kadetoff, A Nordenstedt Agréus, E Le Maitre, C Gillis-Haegerstrand, M Andersson, M Khademi, M Corr, CA Christianson, A Delaney, TL. Yaksh, E Kosek, CI. Svensson. Peripheral inflammatory disease associated with centrally activated IL-1 system in Humans and mice. Procl Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012 Jul 31;109(31):12728-33. Epub 2012 Jul 16

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