Biomarker for Spondyloarthritis

Axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) is characterized by inflammation of the axial and peripheral skeleton (the spine including the sacroiliac joints (SIJ), entheses and peripheral joints) with development of characteristic osteoproliferative changes, by extra-articular manifestations (psoriasis, gut inflammation, uveitis) and by a genetic association with HLA-B27. Disease activity in axSpA is mainly monitored by artificial patient-reported constructs (e.g. Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index, BASDAI). Actual non-specific biomarkers used in daily clinical practice in SpA are CRP and ESR. However, only 30-50% of axSpA patients have elevated CRP and/or ESR levels and the elevation does not correlate with other markers of disease activity (BASDAI or active inflammation of spine and SIJ on MRI). Other possible biomarkers include serum amyloid A, matrix metalloproteinase 3, IL-6 and some growth factors. These candidate biomarkers are not specific for axial SpA either and have not been adopted in clinical practice. The aim of the study is to identify miRNA profiles from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by next generation sequencing (NGS) and quantitative PCR as potential biomarkers for disease activity in axial SpA.

Project members

Astrid Jüngel, Stefan Dudli, Giovanna Azzarito, Marcel Tschopp, Florian Brunner, Steffen Gay, Oliver Distler, Adrian Ciurea


The Horten Stiftung supports this study.