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Pathogenic memory cells of rheumatic inflammation hide in the bone marrow

Why can we not permanently cure rheumatic diseases in most patients? Scientists at the DRFZ have now summarized a series of research papers in a review article published in the journal European Journal of Immunology, which show that the cells of the immune system that drive rheumatic inflammation do not all reside in the inflamed tissues, some hide in the bone marrow. In the bone they are protected by distinct connective tissue cells, the mesenchymal stromal cells, which maintain them for years. Here they survive treatment with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive therapies, and can cause flares of inflammation again and again. New therapies developed at the DRFZ address these cells in their niches.


Conventional rheumatoid therapies only target the effector cells in the inflamed joint, but not memory cells in the bone marrow. This is why the inflammation flares up as soon as the therapy is discontinued. New rheumatoid therapies are also designed to eliminate memory cells in the bone marrow. Permanently! Thus, a cure might be possible.

Maintenance of quiescent immune memory in the bone marrow
Chang, H.-D. and Radbruch, A. (2021), Maintenance of quiescent immune memory in the bone marrow. Eur. J. Immunol.. Accepted Author Manuscript. https://doi.org/10.1002/eji.202049012
Schwiete laboratory for microbiota and inflammation Prof. Dr. Hyun-Dong Chang Phone +49 (0)30 28460-761 chang@drfz.de more
Leitung Portrait von Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Andreas Radbruch
Scientific Director Prof. Dr. Andreas Radbruch Phone +49 (0)30 28 460-601 durez@drfz.de more
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