Effect of T-cell exhaustion profiles of synovial fluid and peripheral blood from JIA patients on disease pathogenesis and prognosis


Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause severe disability and even mortality with joint swelling, sensitivity, loss of motion and synovial tissue damage. JIA is one of the most common inflammatory joint disease.

Chronicity in autoimmune diseases depends on the balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses. One of the main factors in achieving this equilibrium is T-cell co-inhibitor receptors, which are highly expressed by exhausted-T-cells.

Previous studies revealed that T cells play an important and central role in the pathogenesis of especially the oligoarticular and polyarticular forms of the disease. We aim to define the role of T cell co-inhibitory receptors (co-IRs) for predicting the outcome of JIA and try to find a novel therapeutic target molecule.

Facts and figures

Project lead
E Sag
Hacettepe University
FOREUM research grant: € 150.000

Meet the team

Project Lead

E Sag
Hacettepe University
S Ozen
Hacettepe University
B Deleuran
Aarhus University


  • To evaluate soluble levels and cell surface expressions of co-IRs in synovial fluid and peripheral blood of JIA patients
  • To design an ex-vivo disease model and perform functional analysis
  • To examine similarities and differences between different JIA subtypes
  • To define a prognostic biomarker among co-IRs
  • To explore novel therapeutic target molecule


WP1 month 1-6: Patient recruitment for the pilot study
WP2 month 6-12:  Orientation of laboratory environment, getting familiar with the relevant lab techniques, examination of PBMC and SFMC samples obtained from JIA patients at Aarhus University
WP3 month 13-24: Reporting the results of the pilot study & Establishing similar study setup at Hacettepe University
WP4 month 25-36: Study a larger JIA cohort and other autoimmune diseases at Hacettepe University


  • Sag E, Demir S, Aspari M, Nielsen MA, Skejø C, Hvid M, Turhan E, Bilginer Y, Greisen S, Ozen S, Deleuran B. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis: lymphocyte activation gene-3 is a central immune receptor in children with oligoarticular subtypes. Pediatr Res. 2021 May 24. doi: 10.1038/s41390-021-01588-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34031570
    Read more

EULAR Abstracts


  • OP0152 : Oligoarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis does not show signs of T-cell exhaustion, in spite of increased expression of co-inhibitory receptors

Go to EULAR Abstract Archive

Patient voice

Patient participation is very important to define the unmet needs from the patient perspective. We have a mother of systemic JIA patient as Patient/Parent Research Partner, who had valuable input in identifying the research questions and in the design of the study.

Project Map