Immunopathology of Rheumatic Diseases

Group members Research lines Articles Projects Other publications

The research activity of our group focuses on the study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in rheumatic inflammatory diseases. Our final aims are the identification and characterization of potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of these diseases. We undertake these tasks from a basic approach, coordinated by Dr. Jesus Merino at the University of Cantabria, and a clinical approach coordinated by Dr. Jaime Calvo at the Hospital Sierrallana of Torrelavega. Jesus Merino, in close collaboration with Dr. Ramon Merino (IBBTEC), is studying several molecules involved in the control of inflammatory responses, such as BAMBI (BMP and activin membrane bound inhibitor) and BCL2A1 (a cell death regulator). We maintain also collaborations with other Spanish groups to evaluate the role in inflammation of the immunomodulatory molecules, CD38 (Dr. Jaime Sancho, Granada), CD5 and CD6 (Dr Francisco Lozano, Barcelona), the transcriptional factors E2F1 and E2F2 (Dr. Ana Zubiaga, UPV) and GPBP (Goodpasture antigen binding protein), a protein-kinase that forms quaternary protein structures (Dr Juan Saus, Fibrostatin SL, Valencia).

Overall, this research activity pretends to validate these molecules as therapeutic targets in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. For this purpose we use murine models of these diseases, such as the collagen-II-induced arthritis, adriamycin or bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis, the colitis induced by sodium dextran sulphate, or the psoriasis caused by local application of Imiquimod or i.p. injection of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mannan.

- Impact of gender on prognosis of rheumatoid arthritis, with particular emphasis on quality of life. 

- Influence of treatment with TNF inhibitors in the oxidative phenotype of HDL cholesterol and its influence on their anti-atherogenic capacity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 

- Lipoprotein profiles and HDL phenotypes in patients with systemic lupus erithematosus (SLE) in correlation with inter-ethnic differences, in collaboration with the University of Puebla (Mexico).

- Prospective evaluation of individuals with high titers of antinuclear antibodies (>1280) without clinical symptoms of autoimmune diseases. 

- Evaluation of new criteria for clinical classification of SLE patients (SLICC criteria), in collaboration with Dr. Luis Ines (University of Coimbra, Portugal). 

- Co-chairman in the RELESSER-PROS registration for the follow-up of SLE patients. 

- Phase 3 Clinical trials: two trials in rheumatoid arthritis and one in psoriatic arthritis.


Gobierno de Cantabria  Servicio Cántabro de Salud  Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla   Universidad de Cantabria    Instituto de Salud Carlos III 
Edificio IDIVAL, Avenida Cardenal Herrera Oria s/n,
39011 Santander (CANTABRIA).

Phone.: 942 31 55 15
Fax: 942 31 55 17