Systemic Endotoxemia as the driver of chronic inflammation (ENDOTARGET)

Rheumatic diseases (RDs) affect more than 40% of Europe's population and cause significant disability, pain, reduced lifespan, and a very high economic burden. But by now it is unclear, which mechanisms and triggers are responsible for the onset of RDs.

It is suggested that chronic systemic inflammations are caused by the intestinal microorganisms (gut microbiota), or rather by bacterial derived compounds, which activate the immune system. Due to an increased gut permeability, these compounds are able to move from the gut into the blood, reaching systemic circulation and causing local inflammations (systemic endotoxemia).

The EU funded project ENDOTARGET aims to explore the relationship between gut microbiota, gut permeability, and systemic endotoxemia with a special focus on the three most abundant rheumatic diseases (RDs): osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and spondylarthritis. The events leading to disease onset will be studied by geographically diverse cohorts (blood and feces samples), OMICS-based analyses, clinical studies, in vitro mechanistic studies (tissue cultures, organ on chip models) and proof of concept studies focusing on diet, fecal transplantation, and drugs influencing gut permeability. The aim is to clarify (1) the role of the three factors gut microbiota, gut permeability and systemic endotoxemia in RD onset and pathogenesis, (2) which events and mechanisms are responsible for the origin of RDs, and (3) the influence of the gut microbiota on the joints.

Based on the gained knowledge, new biomarkers (measurable parameters) for risk assessment will be identified and a Rheumatic disease risk prediction tool (RDPT) will be developed to support clinicians in the classification of patients and to treat RDs preventively.  This tool will help to reduce the risk of RD onset and/or to reduce disease activity.

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supports as project partner the communication and dissemination activities of the consortium, as well as the exploitation of the research results.

Further information:

  • Funding: European Commission, Horizon Europe
  • Funding budget for all partners: approx. 7 Mio. EUR
  • Participating Countries: Austria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland
  • Project Duration: 01/2023 – 12/2026

Contact us!

Dr. Lena Schleicher
Contact us

Contact us!

Dr. Lena Schleicher

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