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We examine the immunological basis of systemic rheumatic disease with an emphasis on the inflammatory cytokines that drive spondyloarthropathy.

Sherlock group immunobiology of systemic rheumatic disease
The role of inflammatory cytokines in spondyloarthropathy [Reprinted by permission from Macmillian Publishers Ltd: Nature Med 17, 1055–1056 (2011)]

The spondyloarthropathies are a group of rheumatic diseases that are associated with inflammation of the spine and peripheral joints. The tendon-bone attachments (entheses) are particularly affected, and inflammation may also involve the intestine, skin, uvea, and aortic root.

Our previous work has identified a population of resident immune cells in the enthesis that drives joint inflammation and bone changes in mouse models of spondyloarthropathy. We are now interested in understanding the cellular and molecular biology of human spondyloarthropathy. There is a close link between intestinal inflammation and inflammation of the enthesis (enthesitis) suggesting that common cytokine pathways may coordinate inflammation at these sites. We believe that understanding these connections will allow improved and coordinated treatment of these diseases and open the possibility for disease modification at a fundamental level.

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