Timothy E. Quan MD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology)
viruses; autoimmune pathology; biology of fibrocytes
Current ProjectsDr. Quan’s project, The Role of Dendritic Cells in Interstitial Lung Disease Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis, tests a new model which examines fibrosis in the context of well known inflammatory cells, myeloid dendritic cells (mDC), that may link inflammation to fibrosis. Myeloid dendritic cells promote fibrosis by producing collagen and are thus key players in interstitial lung disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
We seek to understand the role of viruses in inducing autoimmune pathology. A main focus of our efforts is the role of Epstein Barr virus in SLE. Increased seroprevalence of EBV has been demonstrated in lupus patients compared to controls and we have demonstrated elevated EBV viral loads in the periphery of patients with SLE. An important goal for us is to understand the cause and effects of elevated viral loads in relationship to lupus. Our laboratory investigates this relationship using immunologic, molecular and cellular techniques. We have demonstrated that EBV can induce IFN-alpha production from plasmacytoid dendritic cells through an MHC class II mechanism. IFN–alpha has been shown to be a key player in inducing autoimmune disease. Our studies support an important role for EBV in perpetuating or initiating autoimmune disease.
In a separate line of investigation, we study the biology of fibrocytes, a blood-borne cell with inflammatory and fibrogenic properties. We are characterizing these cells in both human and animal models. We are exploring the role of these cells in normal and pathologic fibrosis.