Studies on the inflammatory reaction in the respiratory tract in pulmonary sarcoidosis

The research is aiming at exploring mechanisms in inflammatory events occurring in the airways and lungs in sarcoidosis and to relate them to the patient´s geno- and phenotype.

The ultimate goal is to identify a sarcoidosis specific antigen(s), but we also look for markers indicating a protracted disease course as a result of chronic inflammation. The research is truly translational with strong focus on geno- and phenotypic characterization of all patients with suspected sarcoidosis referred to the clinic. A team of researchers from nurses and clinical experts to basic immunologists, and specialists in genetics, proteomics and bioinformatics are involved. We have identified a group of sarcoidosis patients, distinguished by typical clinical manifestations, a lung localized immune response (lung accumulated T cells with a certain specificity), and a select genetic background (HLA-DRB1*03 positive). Lung accumulated cells from these patients have been sampled by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), sorted by FACS and characterized with regard to phenotype and function with different advanced techniques. Peptides have been eluted from pooled alveolar macrophages, amino acid sequences have been registered, and these peptides have been used in proliferation assays.

In network studies the role of exosomes in the alveolar inflammation in sarcoidosis is explored. Also, the subtypes and function of dendritic cells in the airways are characterized. Proteomic studies to identify disease specific patterns are conducted in collaboration with SciLife. Also, extensive genotyping is performed in networks on national and international levels. In addition, in collaboration with epidemiologists at KI the regional prevalence, incidence and impact on social life (e.g. sick leave) is investigated. Furthermore, new treatment options such as physical training, biological agents and apheresis are up and running or planned.

M.D. Ph.D. Professor senior

Anders Eklund