Studies on molecular and cellular mechanisms in autoimmunity.
Using autoimmune diabetes (type 1 diabetes, latent autoimmune diabetes of adults) and celiac disease as models we are studying impact of different genetic, environmental and immunological factors in the development and natural course of autoimmune tissue destruction. In these studies our main interest is to investigate cellular changes in the peripheral blood and small intestinal mucosa (incl. antigen-specific T cells, cell populations with regulatory function) that are determining the disease progression and outcome. In addition, we are studying the role of infections (enterovirus etc.) and normal gut microflora in modulation of these diseases pathogenesis. These studies are performed in collaboration with a number of institutions from Estonia and abroad (see specific subprojects).
Studies are performed under following projects:
- Finances from the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research no. IUT20-43„“Immune mechanisms in diabetes“ (2014-2019);
- National Centres of Excellence Programm grant ”Translational research for improvement of diagnosis and treatment of neuroimmunologic diseases” (2008-2015);
- Archimedes Mobilitas postdoc grant MJD239 “Development of research and diagnostic tools for ZnT8, a new autoantigenic target in type I diabetes” (2012-2014);
- EC Health FP-2008- 202063 project DIABIMMUNE „Pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes: testing the hygiene hypothesis“ (2008-2014).
Immune markers for infertility diagnostics
Our goal is to explore immunohistochemical, immunoproteomics and phage display methods in characterization of molecular targets of immune-mediated infertility. In these studies we are paying special attention on endometriosis in women and prostatitis in men. We are intensively collaborating with Competence Centre on Reproductive Medicine and Biology by the support of Enterprise Estonia (www.ccrmb.ee).
Development of assays for autoimmune disease diagnostics and tools for peripheral blood cells characterization
Based on our more than 40-years experience in the field we are continuing to develop and introduce novel assays for the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases in clinics. In these studies we are actively collaborating with United Laboratories of the Tartu University Hospital where some of our group members are working. Participating in the COST Action BM0907 ENTIRE framework we are introducing novel methods of based on peripheral blood cells immunotyping and immunomonitoring (www.cost.eu).
Development of salmon blood coagulation proteins based biologicals usable to support human tissue regeneration
Our main interest is to study the immunobiological properties of the hemostatic preparations developed from salmon coagulation proteins (fibrinogen and thrombin). Using innovative approaches we aim to develop the products for different indications, indcluding wound healing. We are actively collaborating with Institute of Pharmacy of the University of Tartu and Immunotron OÜ and Sea Run Holding Inc. We have an Estonian patent - Janmey P, Uibo R, Veski P, Laidmäe I. (EE05698).
Islet β-cell reacting autoantibodies i.e. ICA (positive indirect immunofluorescence reaction with serum from a patient with type I diabetes). These autoantibodies have been used to detect autoimmune reactions in diabetes since 70:ies. Today in our laboratory autoantibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase-65 (GADA), islet-associated antigen-2 (IA2A), zink transporter-8 (ZnT8A) are used in companion with ICA to detect islet-cell autoimmunity in diabetes. The performance of assays is regularly controlled using IASP (DASP) proficiency evaluation.
- Ustinova J, Zusinaite E, Utt M, Metsküla K, Reimand K, Huchaiach V, Merits A, Uibo R (2014). Development of a luciferase-based system for the detection of ZnT8 autoantibodies. J Immunol Meth. 405: 67-73.
- Haller-Kikkatalo K, Altmäe S, Tagoma A, Uibo R, Salumets A (2014). Autoimmune activation towards embryo implantation is rare in immune-privileged human endometrium. Sem Reprod Med. 32: 365-373.
- Pruul K, Kisand K, Alnek K, Metsküla K, Heilman K, Peet A, Varik K, Uibo R. (2013). Expression of B7 and CD28 genes in newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes. Hum Immunol. 74: 1251-1257.
- Laidmäe I, Belozjorova J, Sawyer ES, Janmey PA, Uibo R (2012). Salmon fibrin glue in rats: antibody studies. Biologicals. 40: 55-60.
- Kisand K, Uibo R (2012). LADA and T1D in Estonian population - two different genetic risk profiles. Gene. 497: 285-291.
- Teesalu K, Panarina M, Uibo O, Uibo R, Utt M (2012). Autoantibodies from patients with celiac disease inhibit transglutaminase 2 binding to heparin/heparin sulphate and interfere with intestinal epithelial cell adhesion. Amino Acids. 42: 1055-1064.
- Uibo R, Panarina M, Teesalu K, Talja I, Sepp E, Utt M, Mikelsaar M, Heilman K, Uibo O, Vorobjova T (2011). Celiac disease in patients with type 1 diabetes: A condition with distinct changes in intestinal immunity? Cell Mol Immunol. 8: 150-156.
- Borchers AT, Uibo R, Gershwin ME (2010). The geoepidemiology of type 1 diabetes. Autoimmun Rev. 9: A355-A365.