A wide variety of chronic inflammatory diseases cause bone loss. To understand this phenomenon, the Bone Lab focuses on two common diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammation of the joints, and periodontitis, an inflammation of the tooth-supporting structures. In rheumatoid arthritis, which affects 1-2% of the population, joints and bones are damaged and mobility is lost. Periodontitis affects almost 50% of the aging population and leads to tooth loss. Both diseases considerably impair life quality.
Our aim is to better understand the interactions between the immune and skeletal system and identify novel molecular targets that may be used to treat bone loss caused by inflammation. An important topic of this research area is glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIO). Glucocorticoids are amongst the most commonly described drugs to treat inflammatory diseases. Even though they are very potent and offer patients quick relief of pain and swelling, their long-term use is associated with poor bone quality. Our ambition is to understand what drives bone loss in inflammation and glucocorticoid treatment in order to minimize it in the future.