EIRA (Epidemiologic Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis)

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EIRA is an epidemiologic investigation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which is designed to study the influence of both genes and environment on the risk of developing RA.

The aetiology of RA is largely unknown, but it is evident that both genes and environment are involved in disease development as seen from both concordance data in twins and from a number of epidemiological and genetic studies. While knowledge about the contribution of genetics is rapidly increasing there is still a lack of data on environmental factors that may cause RA. In Sweden we have good opportunities to perform epidemiologic studies of RA. We have registers that cover the whole population, a national RA-register and the organization of the health care system makes it possible to identify newly diagnosed RA cases in a defined population. In order to exploit this opportunity we initiated the EIRA study in 1996.



EIRA is a population based case-control study. Incident cases of RA, aged 18-70 years, and randomly selected controls in parts of Sweden are identified. Information about environmental exposures is collected by means of a questionnaire containing a broad range of issues including life style factors, occupational exposures, health aspects, socio-economic factors, and demographic data. Both cases and controls provide a blood sample for genetic and serologic analyses. The data collection is on-going and so far data from 3500 cases and controls have been collected.



EIRA is part of an international network, with extensive collaboration with Nurses Health Study (Boston, USA); Broad Institute (Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), Genomic Institute Singapore (Singapore) and MyEIRA (sister study of EIRA, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).



  • Vetenskapsrådet
  • Försäkringsbolaget AFA
  • Forskningsrådet för arbetsliv och socialvetenskap
  • Stiftelsen Konung Gustaf V:s 80-årsfond
  • Reumatikerförbundet
  • Stockholms läns landsting
  • Söderbergfonden
  • Autocure
  • National Institute for Health

Project group

Principal investigators

  • Lars Alfredsson, Professor
  • Lars Klareskog, Professor

Administrative office

  • Marie-Louise Serra
  • Lena Nise
  • Caroline Öfverberg Colliander
  • Henny Rydberg

Laboratory staff

  • Eva Jemseby
  • Lena Israelsson
  • Gullbritt Almgren


  • Leonid Padyukov
  • Sara Wedrén
  • Bo Ding
  • Saedis Saevarsdottir
  • Henrik Källberg
  • Camilla Bengtsson
  • Ingvar Lundberg
  • Ann-Charlotte Elkan
  • Maria Seddigzadeh

PhD students

  • Abqariyah (Qory) Yahay
  • Too Chun Lai
  • Annmari Wesley
  • Cecilia Orellana