Autoimmunity and Rheumatology Research

Prof. Torsten Witte, MD

Basic research interest: Identification of new autoantibodies as markers of connective tissue diseases and other chronic inflammatory disorders.

Our studies using unbiased, high-throughput tools have been fruitful and we found new autoantibodies that are associated with clinical manifestations of Sjögren's syndrome (SS), systemic sclerosis (SSc), SLE, giant cell arteritis and axial spondyloarthritis. We treat more than 300 patients with SLE, more than 200 with SS and more than 100 with SSc. These patients have been characterized very well with regard to clinical disease manifestations and profiles of more than 80 SS and SLE associated antibodies. Using these new autoantibodies and well defined cohorts of patients treated in our department, we have defined subgroups of connective tissue diseases, in particular Sjögren`s syndrome and SLE.

In addition, we have participated in EU-funded consortia, in which further clusters of connective tissue diseases have been identified.



EP 11152361.9: Ferritin antibodies as diagnostic marker of large vessel vasculitis

EP 10172861.6: Antibodies against CD74 as diagnostic marker of spondylo-arthritis


The working group comprises
Leader: Prof. Dr. med. Torsten Witte

Anna Holz, MD

Diana Ernst, MD

Stephanie Hirsch, MD

Gerrit Ahrenstorf, MD

Marius Hoepfner, MD

Katja Kniesch, Technician