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CO2: Immunopathologies, Inflammatory Rheumatic Diseases and Biomarkers in Neoplastic Processes

This research group arises from the close and long-lasting collaboration between basic and clinical researchers in the field of Immunology and Rheumatology. Several members of the research group have extended experience in studying B-lymphocyte populations and their differentiation to plasma cells (PCs), which are responsible for antibody production and therefore for humoral immunity. The maturation process of B cells to PCs goes through a series of phases in which the physiological and phenotypical characteristics of the PCs progressively change until they reach final maturity. In this stage where PCs produce antibodies of high affinity to a specific antigen, they are targeted and selected in tissues for final accommodation (such as the bone marrow, where these cells, despite losing their ability to proliferate, achieve a long life status). In addition to studying the characteristics of the different phases of B-lymphocytes and PCs in humans, this research group also studies the transcriptional regulation of a transcription factor called PRDM1, which is key in the process of cell differentiation. The expression of alternative isoforms for PRDM1 has been over-expressed in multiple myeloma, the tumour counterpart of PCs.

Moreover, this research group's goal is to study systemic autoimmune diseases, mainly but not exclusively, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Although the physiopathological mechanisms of autoimmune diseases are unknown, they present several auto-antibodies that can be used as markers of the disease. This research group tries to identify new cellular and/or molecular biomarkers that allow to predict and reduce the peaks of the disease through the development and design of new potential therapies. The populations of B-lymphocytes and self-reactive PCs present in these patients seem to be a good starting point for studies to develop therapies aiming to eliminate or lessen the adverse effects of these diseases.

Principal investigator
  • Antonio Campos Caro
  • e-mail:
  • ORCID: 0000-0001-8532-2153
Co-principal investigator
  • Carmen Rodríguez Hernández
  • e-mail:
Lines of research
  1. B-lymphocytes and their differentiation to plasma cells. Study of the phenotypic characteristics and transcriptional factors that determine differentiation from B-lymphocytes to plasma cells in different tissues and degrees of maturation. Transcriptional factors that may be involved in the development and maintenance of lymphomas and/or myelomas.
  2. Protein machinery involved in exocytosis or cell secretion. The group characterises the proteins that may be key in the mechanism of antibody secretion by plasma cells. The proteins that make up the cellular secretory machinery are involved in any process of cellular secretion, from exosomes to interleukins.
  3. B-lymphocytes and self-reactive plasma cells. The group studies these cell populations in patients with rheumatological autoimmune diseases, particularly with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Phenotypic and molecular characterization of these populations.
  4. Study of exosomes and gene expression as biomarkers in multiple myeloma and other neoplasms.
Key words
B-lymphocytesPlasma cells AutoinmunityRheumatologyInflammatory Diseases MyelomaExosomes
Principal investigator
Antonio Campos Caro
  • Investigator – Coordinator. Research Unit. University Hospital “Puerta del Mar”
  • e-mail:
  • ORCID: 0000-0001-8532-2153
Co-principal investigator
Carmen Rodríguez Hernández
  • Head of the Department of Immunology. University Hospital “Puerta del Mar”
  • e-mail:
Team members
  • Antonio Campos Caro (Researcher)
  • Carmen Rodríguez HernáNdez (Researcher)
  • Francisco Mora López (Researcher)
  • Almudena Sampalo Láinz (Researcher)
  • Antonio Nieto Díaz (Researcher)
  • Fermín Medina Varo (Researcher)
  • Gema JiméNez Gómez (Researcher)
  • Raquel Romero García (Researcher)
  • José Mª. Lúbian Romero de Agredano (Nurse)
  • Jesús L. Gómez Perales (Researcher)
  • Nicolás Chozas Candanedo (Researcher)
  • Antonia María Fernández Rodríguez (Researcher)
  • Raquel de La Varga Martínez (Researcher)
  • Inmaculada Macías Fernández (Researcher)
National Funding Calls
  2. Instituto de Salud Carlos III. FIS15/01147. Principal Investigator: Antonio Campos Caro. Differentiation of human plasma cells in health and disease: analysis of single cell gene expression in systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Regional Funding Calls
  1. Department of Health of the Junta de Andalucia. Junta de Andalucia. 2018. Metabolism Clinical Trials Network: Diabetes, Obesity and Dyslipemia. RIC-0539-2018.
  2. Department of Health of the Junta de Andalucia. Research projects PI-0123-2018 (Collaboration). Diabetic retinopathy: inflammation as a new therapeutic target. The role of exosomes.
  3. Regional integration initiative (ITI) 2014-2020 for the province of Cadiz, by the Department of Health of the Junta de Andalucia and the European Regional Development Fund. PI-0032-2017 (Collaboration). Predicting risk of distant metastasis of breast carcinoma by integrating morphological, immunohistochemical and genetic data through Big Data technology.
  4. Department of Health of the Junta de Andalucia. Research projects PI-0123-2018. Principal Investigator: Carmen Rodríguez Hernández. Identification of factors inducing maturation and survival of self-reactive plasma cells and determination of B-lymphoid subpopulations in systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Abad-Molina C, Vilches-Moreno M, Cárdaba-Arranz M, Nieto A, Orduña-Domingo A. Identification of the DRB4*01:03:01:02N null allele with HLA-DRB1*04 in a Spanish donor. HLA 2019;93(6):471-473 IF: 2.558 Q3
  • de la Varga-Martínez R, Rodríguez-Bayona B, Campos-Caro A, Añez GA, Medina-Varo F, Rodríguez C. Autoreactive B-lymphocytes in SLE and RA patients: Isolationand characterisation using extractable nuclear and citrullinated antigens bound to immunobeads. Eur J Immunol. 2019 Jul;49(7):1107-1116. IF: 4.5 Q2
  • Arroba AI, Campos-Caro A, Aguilar-Diosdado M, Valverde ÁM. IGF-1, Inflammation and Retinal Degeneration: A Close Network. Front Aging Neurosci. 2018 Jul 5;10:203. IF: 3.633 Q2
  • Hervás-Corpión I, Guiretti D, Alcaraz-Iborra M, Olivares R, Campos-Caro A, Barco Á, Valor LM. Early alteration of epigenetic-related transcription in Huntington's disease mouse models. Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 2;8(1):9925. IF: 4.525 Q1
  • Mellado-Gil JM, Fuente-Martín E, Lorenzo PI, Cobo-Vuilleumier N, López-Noriega L, Martín-Montalvo A, GómezIGH, Ceballos-Chávez M, Gómez-Jaramillo L, Campos-Caro A, Romero-Zerbo SY, Rodríguez-Comas J, Servitja JM, Rojo- Martinez G, Hmadcha A, Soria B, Bugliani M, Marchetti P, Bérmudez-Silva FJ, Reyes JC, Aguilar-Diosdado M, Gauthier BR. The type 2 diabetes-associated HMG20A gene is mandatory for islet beta cell functional maturity. Cell Death Dis. 2018 Feb 15;9(3):279. IF: 5.638 Q1
  • Valor LM, Rodríguez-Bayona B, Ramos-Amaya AB, Brieva JA, Campos-Caro A. The transcriptional profiling of human in vivo-generated plasma cells identifies selective imbalances in monoclonal gammopathies. PLoS One. 2017 Aug 17;12(8):e0183264. IF: 2.806 Q1
  • Gómez-Jaramillo L, Romero-García R, Jiménez-Gómez G, Riegle L, Ramos-Amaya AB, Brieva JA, Kelly-Worden M, Campos-Caro A. VAMP2 is implicated in the secretion of antibodies by human plasma cells and can be replaced by other synaptobrevins. Cell Mol Immunol. 2016 Sep 12. PMID: 27616736 IF: 5.897 Q1
  • Ramos-Amaya A, Rodríguez-Bayona B, López-Blanco R, Andújar E, Pérez-Alegre M, Campos-Caro A, Brieva JA. Survival of human circulating antigen-induced plasma cells is supported by plasma cell-niche cytokines and T follicular helper lymphocytes. J Immunol. 2015;194(3):1031-8. IF: 4.985 Q1
  • Gómez-Jaramillo L, Delgado-Pérez L, Reales E, Mora-López F, Mateos RM, García-Poley A, Brieva JA, Campos-Caro A. Syntaxin-4 is implicated in the secretion of antibodies by human plasma cells. J Leukoc Biol. 2014 ;95(2):305-12. PMID: 24146186 IF: 4.57 Q1