Diane van der Woude

My research focuses on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and specifically on risk factors and autoantibodies. Regarding the most important risk genes for RA: the human leukocyte antigens (HLA), we discovered that there are specific HLA-alleles with a strong protective effect for autoantibody-positive RA.

Regarding autoantibodies, we established novel assays which revealed that broadening of the autoimmune response predominantly occurs before disease onset. This insight has affected the design of trials intended to cure RA, which have now shifted their focus to treating patients before full-blown disease onset. We are now investigating new autoantibodies in RA and their relationship with disease development.


Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands


E.M. de Moel, V.F.A.M. Derksen, G. Stoeken, L.A. Trouw, H. Bang, R.J. Goekoop, I. Speyer, T.W.J. Huizinga, C.F. Allaart, R.E.M. Toes, et.al. Baseline autoantibody profile in rheumatoid arthritis associated with early treatment response but not long-term outcome. Arthritis Res Ther. 2018 (accepted for publication)

M. Volkov, J. Dekkers, B.G. Loos, S. Bizzarro, T.W.J. Huizinga, H.A. Praetorius, R.E.M. Toes, D. van der Woude. The link between rheumatoid arthritis and exposure to a bacterial toxin was not found in a population of RA patients from the Netherlands. Sci Transl Med. 2018 (accepted for publication)

Manivel VA, van der Woude D, Toes R, Filer A, Raza K, Ronnelid J. Antibodies against collagen type II are not a general marker of acute arthritis onset. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017.

van Delft MAM, Verheul MK, Burgers LE, Derksen V, van der Helm-van Mil AHM, van der Woude D, Huizinga TWJ, Toes REM, Trouw LA. The isotype and IgG subclass distribution of anti-carbamylated protein antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Arthritis Res Ther. 2017.

Hermans MPJ, van der Velden D, Montero Cabezas JM, Putter H, Huizinga TWJ, Kuiper J, Toes REM, Schalij MJ, Wouter Jukema J, van der Woude D. Long-term mortality in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction is associated with anti-citrullinated protein antibodies. Int J Cardiol. 2017.

Current PhD projects

Emma de Moel: Etiological, prognostic and theragnostic significance of autoantibodies in rheumatoid arthritis.

Mikhail Volkov: The effect of risk factors on the cellular and serological immunopathology underlying rheumatoid arthritis.