Unit of Immunology and Chronic Disease

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Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in the Western world and is mainly caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory process. Lipids stored in the blood vessel wall form so-called atherosclerotic plaques. The inflammation may lead to plaque ruptures and formation of a blood clot  thrombosis-, which stops the blood flow. Clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis/thrombosis are myocardial infarction, stroke or claudications.

We study how different types of lipids, mainly phospholipids, activate immune reactions and how these affect atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and inflammation in general. Our translational research is both experimental and clinically oriented.

Our research focuses om protective role and mechanisms of the natural, innate antibodies against oxidation-related epitopes on phospholipids; such as phosphorylcholine (PC) and others. To identify effects of antibodies is a major challenge. Antibodies can both protect and damage and it is a balancing act to use the right antibodies in the right quantity and in the right context. Such antibodies may have prognostic and diagnostic significance, where low levels signify an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Novel immunomodulatory therapies using protective natural antibodies can be potentially useful.

Our overall aims are to:

  • improve risk assessment for cardiovascular disease and thereby optimize treatment
  • study the causes of the inflammation linked to atherosclerosis/atherothrombosis
  • develop new immunological treatments conteracting unwanted inflammation

Head of Unit

Professor/senior physician

Johan Frostegård

Phone: 08-524 871 41
Organizational unit: Immunology and cronic disease
E-mail: Johan.Frostegard@ki.se


Unit members

Anna FrostegårdAssociated
Anquan LiuSenior lab manager
Divya ThiagarajanPhD student
Johan FrostegårdProfessor/senior physician
Marta AlarcónVisiting professor
Mizanur RahmanPhD student



  • CVDIMMUNE- The 6th Framework Program of the European Union
  • The King Gustav V 80th year's Foundation
  • ALF (Grants from the Stockholm County)
  • Swedish Science Fund
  • Swedish Rheumatism Association
  • Torsten Söderberg Foundation