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Steiger Lab - Hyperuricemia and Inflammation

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Our Research Focus

In my group, we perform translational research on the multifaceted physiologic roles of hyperuricemia in acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease with related complications. Specifically, we focus on the anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, anti-oxidative and vasoactive actions of soluble uric acid; assessment of the role of hyperuricemia in sterile inflammation, diabetes, and infection; in vitro studies with patient cohorts and innovative in vivo mouse models of hyperuricemia; and therapeutic approaches to test when and how to treat hyperuricemia. 

Our Projects

The following aspects are of particular interest to our lab:

Research Focus and Projects

Bibliography of PD Dr. Stefanie Steiger

I received my degree in bioengineering from the Martin-Luther-University of Halle/Wittenberg in 2007. After working as bioengineer at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, I went overseas to pursue a PhD in Arthritis & Inflammation at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research / Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Having gained more than five years of international research experience, I took on the opportunity to establish my own research group in the Division of Nephrology at the LMU Hospital, where I have the chance to perform high quality translational research in the field of kidney disease. Support from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and junior research grants from the LMUexcellent initiative made it possible for me to start my own research group at the Division of Nephrology. 

The Team

Education and Academic Appointments

2021 German Habilitation (Privatdozentin, PD) in Experimental Medicine, Medical Faculty, LMU Munich

2016 - present Group leader and Principal Investigator, Division of Nephrology, LMU Hospital Munich

2014 - 2016 Postdoctoral fellow, Division of Nephrology, LMU Hospital Munich

2009 - 2014 PhD (Biomedical Science), Malaghan Institute of Medical Research / University of Wellington, New Zealand

2008 - 2009 Internship at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Wellington, New Zealand

2006 - 2007 Work as Bioengineer at Boehringer Ingelheim Co. KG, Biberach an der Riß

2000 - 2007 Bioengineering, Martin-Luther University Halle/Wittenberg, Halle an der Saale 

Additional Qualifications, Awards and Activities

2023 European Renal Association 2023 - Stanley Shaldon Award for young investigators in translational science

2023 - present Associate Editor, Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

2023 - present Board member of the European Renal Association - Immunonephrology Working Group

2022 - present Coordinator of the Else Kröner-Fresenius - Promotionskolleg FöFoLe-Entzündung, Medical Faculty, LMU Munich  

2021 - 2023 Editorial Fellow, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

2021 + 2022 Mentee of the Mentoring Program at the Medical Faculty for excellent scientist (MOMENTE), LMU Munich

2019 Guest Editor, Journal Cells (macrophages, inflammation, kidney disease)

2016 - present Reviewer activity, International peer-reviewed scientific journals

Since then I have focussed on better understanding the functional importance of hyperuricemia in kidney disease and associated complications. In addition to my research activities, I routinely supervise MD and PhD doctoral students at the Division of Nephrology, and run various seminars on nephrology-related topics at the Medical Faculty of the LMU Hospital Munich. 

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Pathomechanisms of hyperuricemia during infectious complications

Patients with chronic kidney disease are at a higher risk of suffering from infectious complications, e.g. sepsis, pneumonia, Covid-19. Our preliminary work shows that soluble uric acid impairs the phagocytic capability of neutrophils. We are now unravelling the molecular and cellular mechanisms of hyperuricemia associated with the acquired immunodeficiency in chronic kidney disease. For this, we use our innovative animal model of hyperuricemia and a human cohort of patients with kidney disease. 


Project-related publications

Steiger S, Rossaint J, Zarbock A, Anders HJ. Secondary Immunodeficiency Related to Kidney Disease (SIDKD)-Definition, Unmet Need, and Mechanisms. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2022 Feb;33(2):259-278.

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In vivo therapy regimes for kidney disease-related hyperuricemia

We are interested in investigating the effects of hyperuricemia related or unrelated to kidney disease. To do so, we have established a novel animal model of hyperuricemia with serum uric acid levels similar to those observed in patients with kidney dysfunction and found that asymptomatic hyperuricemia does not cause kidney injury nor worsens chronic kidney disease. Only hyperuricemia with crystalluria drives chronic kidney disease progression through the formation of uric acid crystal granulomas. Here we want to test potential therapeutic interventions that lower uric acid levels and target uric acid crystallization and inflammation. 

Project-related publications

Sellmayr M, Hernandez Petzsche MR, Ma Q, Krüger N, Liapis H, Brink A, Lenz B, Angelotti ML, Gnemmi V, Kuppe C, Kim H, Bindels EMJ, Tajti F, Saez-Rodriguez J, Lech M, Kramann R, Romagnani P, Anders HJ, Steiger S. Only Hyperuricemia with Crystalluria, but not Asymptomatic Hyperuricemia, Drives Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2020 Dec;31(12):2773-2792.

Steiger S, Ma Q, Anders HJ. The case for evidence-based medicine for the association between hyperuricaemia and CKD. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2020 Jul;16(7):422.


Immunoregulatory function of soluble uric acid

We want to understand how soluble and crystalline metabolites regulate immune cell function during sterile inflammation e.g. in gouty arthritis. Our work identified soluble uric acid to have anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing the pro-inflammatory function of monocytes and by impairing the ability of neutrophils to migrate to the site of inflammation by regulating beta2 integrin internalization and recycling. We are now identifying other potential kidney disease-related metabolites that influence immune cell function in sterile inflammation. 

Project-related publications

Ma Q, Honarpisheh M, Li C, Sellmayr M, Lindenmeyer M, Böhland C, Romagnani P, Anders HJ, Steiger S. Soluble Uric Acid Is an Intrinsic Negative Regulator of Monocyte Activation in Monosodium Urate Crystal-Induced Tissue Inflammation. J Immunol. 2020 Aug 1;205(3):789-800.

Ma Q, Immler R, Pruenster M, Sellmayr M, Li C, von Brunn A, von Brunn B, Ehmann R, Wölfel R, Napoli M, Li Q, Romagnani P, Böttcher RT, Sperandio M, Anders HJ, Steiger S. Soluble uric acid inhibits β2 integrin-mediated neutrophil recruitment in innate immunity. Blood. 2022 Jun 9;139(23):3402-3417.

List of Publication

List of Publications

A list of all publications from the Steiger Lab can be found on pubmed:


The Current Team

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Qiubo Li, PhD Student

I am a trained urologist from China and I

joined the Steiger Lab in October 2021 to pursue my doctoral thesis project at the Medical Faculty of the LMU Munich. For this, I secured a CSC scholarship for four years.

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Li Li, Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a trained nephrologist from China and I joined the Nelson Lab in 2018 to conduct my doctoral thesis at the Medical Faculty of the LMU Munich. I will soon start as Postdoctoral Fellow in the Steiger Lab.

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Louisa Ehreiser, MD Student

I study medicine at the Medical Faculty of the LMU Munich. I joined the Steiger Lab to perform my medical doctoral thesis within the FöFoLe program in March 2022. 

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Juliane Anders, MD Student

I study medicine at the Medical Faculty of the LMU Munich. I joined the Steiger Lab to perform my medical doctoral thesis within the FöFoLe program in April 2022. 

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Kailey Flora, PhD Student

I am a biotechnologist and I joined the Steiger Lab in Oktober 2022 to pursue my doctoral thesis project at the Munich Medical Research School of the LMU Munich. My thesis focuses on the role of soluble metabolites on neutrophil function (TRR332 project A7).

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Rosch Abdullah, MD Student

I study medicine at the Medical Faculty of the LMU Munich. I joined the Steiger Lab and Klaus Group to conduct my medical doctoral thesis within the FöFoLe program in February 2023. 



We gratefully acknowledge support for our work from the following funding sources

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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


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Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

SFB-TRR 332 "Neutrophil: Origin, Fate and Function"

(Project A7)

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LMUexcellent initiative - junior researcher grant

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Medizinische Fakultät, LMU

Förderprogramm für Forschung und Lehre (FöFoLe)


Kidney Immunology Laboratory
University Hospital
Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich

Clinical Unit:

Nephrologisches Zentrum

Ziemssenstr. 5, 80336 Munich

Research Unit:

Kidney Immunology Laboratory, Med. IV

Goetherstr. 31, 80336 Munich


BMC - Biomedical Research Center Munich

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV LMU Munich

University of Florence

University of Cracow

TRR 332 - Collaborative Research Center 332

​TRR 156 - Collaborative Research Center 156

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