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Cristina Maglio Group

Cristina Maglio is a resident physician in Rheumatology with research time within Wallenberg Centre. Cristina and her group aim to understand the relationship between obesity, inflammation and the development of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory joint disease affecting about 1% of the Swedish population. 

Research focus


Obesity is a burden for western countries and its prevalence is dramatically increasing in the last decades. Overweight and obesity associate with a higher risk of developing several diseases that impair quality of life and lead to increased mortality. Obesity is associated with a low-grade systemic inflammatory state and it has been hypothesized that obesity-related inflammation may be implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatic inflammation. Moreover, obesity is a risk factor for various rheumatic diseases including gout, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Adipokines are cell-signalling proteins mainly produced by the adipose tissue and they are a link between metabolism, inflammation and immunity. In subjects with obesity, the release of adipokines is impaired, either increased or decreased. Adiponectin is probably the most well studied adipokine. This adipokine is highly abundant in serum and is mostly produced by the white adipose tissue; nevertheless, adiponectin serum levels are surprisingly low in subjects with obesity. Moreover, low serum adiponectin is also associated with an impaired metabolic profile, including a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Surprisingly, adiponectin is increased in both serum and joint fluids of patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis. In vitro studies have also shown that adiponectin has both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties. Resistin, visfatin and leptin are other adipokines that have been associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Aim of the research project

By combining epidemiologic data from large patients’ cohorts, genetic and in vitro studies our group aims to understand the role of adipokines in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Previous results

Our group has the possibility to study the effect of obesity surgery (also known as bariatric surgery) on the development of inflammatory joint disease thanks to the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study. Gout is an inflammatory arthritis caused by monosodium urate crystal deposition in the joints and its precursor is hyperuricemia (i.e. high serum uric acid levels). We have recently shown that bariatric surgery decreases the incidence of gout in obese participants of the SOS study followed up for up to 25 years (Maglio C et al, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2017). Furthermore, we have shown that obese subjects undergoing bariatric surgery have lower serum uric acid levels and a lower chance to develop hyperuricemia during follow up.

Subjects with obesity are at risk to develop psoriasis, an inflammatory disease affecting mostly the skin, as well as psoriatic arthritis. We have shown that bariatric surgery associates with a lower incidence of psoriasis in subjects with obesity followed up for up to 26 years (Maglio C et al, Obesity 2017). No significant difference in the risk of developing psoriatic arthritis was detected when comparing subjects who underwent surgery and the control group.

National and international collaborations

Maglio group works in tight collaboration with Prof. Anna Rudin’s group at the Dept. of Rheumatology and Inflammation, as well as with Prof. Lena Carlsson’s group, at the Dept. of Molecular and Clinical Medicine. The group has also an established collaboration with Prof. Solbritt Rantapää Dahlqvist, at the University of Umeå. Internationally, the group collaborates with Prof. Markku Peltonen, at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland, as well as Prof. Christian Herder, at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany.

Portrait in Akademiliv

We Are Seeking Outstanding Researchers

Contact Information

Cristina Maglio


Page Manager: Mattias Lindgren|Last update: 12/21/2018

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