Frans Kroese

Central in our studies is the role of B cells in systemic human autoimmune disease, with emphasis on primary Sjögren’s syndrome. We aim at understanding why B cells are hyperactive in this autoimmune disorder, and how they contribute to the pathogenic process, both in the exocrine glands (salivary and lacrimal glands) and systemically. Because salivary gland biopsies are taken for diagnostic reasons, we can assess the role of B cells and local humoral immune responses in this major target tissue of the disease. This role of B cells is certainly not only restricted to the production of (auto-)antibodies. Novel treatments with biologicals are helpful in understanding and dissecting the various steps in pathogenesis.


Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands


Corneth OBJ, Verstappen GMP, Paulissen SMJ, de Bruijn MJW, Rip J, Lukkes M, van Hamburg JP, Lubberts E, Bootsma H, Kroese FGM, et al. Enhanced Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Activity in Peripheral Blood B Lymphocytes From Patients With Autoimmune Disease. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017.

Haacke EA, Bootsma H, Spijkervet FKL, Visser A, Vissink A, Kluin PM, Kroese FGM. FcRL4(+) B-cells in salivary glands of primary Sjogren’s syndrome patients. J Autoimmun. 2017.

Verstappen GM, Meiners PM, Corneth OBJ, Visser A, Arends S, Abdulahad WH, Hendriks RW, Vissink A, Kroese FGM, Bootsma H. Attenuation of Follicular Helper T Cell-Dependent B Cell Hyperactivity by Abatacept Treatment in Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017.

Visser A, Hamza N, Kroese FGM, Bos NA. Acquiring new N-glycosylation sites in variable regions of immunoglobulin genes by somatic hypermutation is a common feature of autoimmune diseases. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017.

Haacke EA, van der Vegt B, Vissink A, Spijkervet FKL, Bootsma H, Kroese FGM. Germinal centres in diagnostic labial gland biopsies of patients with primary Sjogren’s syndrome are not predictive for parotid MALT lymphoma development. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017.


J. Hendricks: Heterogeneity of memory marginal zone B cell in the rat. Awarded: 2015

P.M. Meiners: Biological therapy in Sjögren’s syndrome: outcomes and evaluation. Awarded: 2014

R. Pollard: B cell targeting in Sjögren’s syndrome: clues to pathogenesis. Awarded: 2014

Current PhD projects

G.W.P. Verstappen: T-cell dependent B-cell hyperactivity in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome.

E.A. Haacke: Role of FcRL4+ B cells in the pathogenesis of Sjögren’s syndrome.

M.S. van Ginkel: Development of lymphoepithelial lesions in salivary glands of patients with Sjögren’s syndrome.

X. Wang: Initiation of Sjögren’s syndrome: role for the glandular epithelium?