Universiteit Leiden

nl en


Bitter Sweet Symphony

  • T. Kissel
donderdag 1 december 2022
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. dr. R.E.M. Toes


Our immune system is supposed to protect us from infections, but it can also attack our own tissues if not properly controlled. This can lead to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). People with RA have antibodies to the body’s own proteins (self), but it is not known how they arise. The data described in this thesis show that these antibodies cross-react with self-proteins carrying different post-translational modifications, suggesting that multiple proteins may be involved in the initial loss of the immune system’s ability to discriminate between self- and foreign-proteins. As another unique feature, these antibodies carry additional sugars at an unexpected site in the molecule. Our data show that these sugars (variable domain glycans) can prevent binding to potential self-proteins, affect complement activation, and set the threshold for immune B-cell activation. In addition, our data show that the abundance of these sugars increases toward disease onset and predicts the development of chronic, persistent disease or the chance of subsequent remission. Taken together, these sugars may help B cells to escape the tight control mechanism in our body that are in place to prevent the development autoimmunity. This new “sugar mechanism” could be beneficial for diagnosis and future treatment.



Ongeveer een week na de promotie zijn proefschriften van Leidse promovendi digitaal beschikbaar via het Leids Repositorium. De proefschriften op deze site zijn vrij toegankelijk. Alleen in sommige gevallen rust er een tijdelijk embargo op een proefschrift en wordt het proefschrift pas later volledig beschikbaar gesteld.

Persvragen (alleen journalisten)


Algemene informatie

Bureau Pedel
071 527 7211

Deze website maakt gebruik van cookies.  Meer informatie.