Prof. D. van Schaardenburg PhD

Full Professor
Main activities
Patient care, Research, Other
Early and preclinical rheumatoid arthritis, life style medicine
Focus of research

The focus of my research is on the development and course of rheumatoid arthritis. This development takes place over several years and involves inflammation of mucous membranes (mouth, lung, gut) leading to production of ant-citrullinated and other autoantibodies, after which the disease translocates to the joints. Early aggressive treatment appoaches have made a huge difference in maintaining joint integrity and function, and such appoaches are now tested in individuals at high risk for RA.

Recent data point to an overlap in risk factors for the development and outcome of both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and cardiovascular diseases (CVD), as well as other chronic inflammatory diseases. In analogy to a successful life style intervention in CVD, a trial will start in Reade of a whole foods plant-based diet combined with exercise and stress management for patients with active RA, and also in patients with osteoarthritis and metabolic syndrome. A group of patients at risk for RA will receive the same intervention as a pilot study. If successful, analysis of MRI (liver, muscle) and gut microbiome will lead to a better understanding of the roles of microbiota and metabolism in the development of arthritis. 

Key publications
  • Falkenburg Willem J. J., van Schaardenburg Dirkjan Evolution of autoantibody responses in individuals at risk of rheumatoid arthritis Best practice & research. Clinical rheumatology 2017;31 (1):42-52 [PubMed]
  • de Smit Menke, van de Stadt Lotte Arwen, Janssen Koen M. J., Doornbos-van der Meer Berber, Vissink Arjan, van Winkelhoff Arie Jan, Brouwer Elisabeth, Westra Johanna, van Schaardenburg Dirkjan Antibodies against Porphyromonas gingivalis in seropositive arthralgia patients do not predict development of rheumatoid arthritis Annals of the rheumatic diseases 2014;73 (6):1277-1279 [PubMed]
  • Shi Jing, van de Stadt Lotte A., Nivine Levarht E. W., Huizinga Tom W. J., Toes René E. M., Trouw Leendert A., van Schaardenburg Dirkjan Anti-Carbamylated Protein Antibodies are present in arthralgia patients and predict the development of rheumatoid arthritis Arthritis and rheumatism 2013;65 (4):911-915 [PubMed]
  • Wijbrandts Carla Ann, van Schaardenburg Dirkjan Images in clinical medicine. Pain in the thumb related to disease in the lung New England journal of medicine 2013;368 (18):1731 [PubMed]
All Publications
Research programmes

Prof. D. van Schaardenburg PhD (Early and preclinical rheumatoid arthritis)