[44] Mechanisms of Articular Inflammation and Joint Damage in Arthritis

My laboratory is interested in the role of cytokines of the interleukin (IL)-1 family in the immune and inflammatory responses. Our studies are focusing on experimental models of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

IL-1 is a cytokine that is critical in the innate immune response to different types of endogenous or exogenous noxious agents. IL-1 stimulates the inflammatory process and regulates adaptive immune responses, in particular the polarization of T helper 17 cells. As such IL-1 has become an important target in the treatment of inflammatory conditions. In addition, other cytokines such as IL-18, IL-33 and IL-36 share structural characteristics, bind to the same family of receptors, and stimulate similar intracellular signals as IL-1. These cytokines are included in the IL-1 family of cytokines and exert pathogenic effects in different inflammatory diseases. Interestingly, natural inhibitors, including receptor antagonists and decoy receptors exist for all the IL-1 cytokines. Genetic deficiencies in some of these inhibitors lead to severe inflammatory diseases, further emphasizing the critical role of these cytokines in the regulation of body homeostasis.

Our research group is generating and working with different genetically modified mouse lines, including mice with tissue-specific invalidation or overexpression of genes encoding IL-1 cytokines or cytokine inhibitors.