Department of Rheumatology

Head of the Department: Kei Ikeda MD, PhD

Message from the Head of the Department

    The Department of Rheumatology in Dokkyo Medical University is one of the largest rheumatology departments of university hospitals in Japan, to which patients are referred from all over the Tochigi prefecture and beyond. In addition, we have very close and functional relationships with other departments, which is a key feature to the optimal care for patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (AIRDs).
      AIRDs are conditions, in which immune systems do not work properly. We treat all types of AIRDs, but we have traditionally treated a large number of severe cases, particularly those with severe pulmonary diseases. We have improved the outcomes of AIRD patients including survival and side effects by proactively using immunosuppressants or biological agents and reducing the dose of glucocorticoids. We also have strength in musculoskeletal ultrasound and other imaging techniques, which allow for accurate assessment and more personalized medicine.


1. Clinical

     Diagnosis and management of rheumatic diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis [RA], psoriatic arthritis [PsA], spondyloarthritis [SpA], and polymyalgia rheumatica [PMR]), connective tissue diseases (e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE], systemic sclerosis [SSc], dermatomyositis [DM]/polymyositis [PM], mixed connective tissue disease [MCTD], and Sjogren syndrome [SS]), vasculitides (e.g. microscopic polyangiitis [MPA], granulomatosis with polyangiitis [GPA], eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis [EGPA], polyarteritis nodosa [PAN], Takayasu arteritis [TA], and giant cell arteritis [GCA]), and the other autoimmune/autoinflammatory diseases (e.g. Behcet disease [BD], IgG4-related disease, and familial Mediterranean fever [FMF]).

2. Research activities

  • Serum cytokines in macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) that complicates autoimmune diseases
  • Imaging pattern analyses of lung involvement in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (AIRDs)
  • Roles of an RNA-editing enzyme in AIRDs using genetically modified mice.
  • Roles of a newly identified auto-antibody in patients with AIRDs
  • Treatment responses of AIRDs to molecular-targeting drugs
  • Imaging of AIRDs
  • Omics analyses of AIRDs using human specimens
  • Big data analyses of AIRDs using large databases


3. Education
School of Medicine:

3rd year Lectures on immunology and autoimmunity
4th year Lectures on autoimmune rheumatic diseases
5th year Clinical clerkship
6th year Clinical clerkship, lectures on autoimmune rheumatic diseases

Research Field

Basic research

  • Development of new therapy against systemic autoimmune diseases by regulation of TFH cells
  • Interaction between immune system and intestinal nerve system leading to the development of RA
  • Molecular mechanism of hyperinflammation in autoimmune pulmonary diseases

Clinical research

  • JAK inhibitors for myositis associated interstitial lung diseases
  • Pulmonary and cytokine profile in myositis
  • Development pathways in pulmonary abnormalities in RA and myositis
  • Identification of prognostic factors in interstitial lung diseases in RA
  • Clinical and immunological features of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis in SLE and AOSD
  • Autoantibodies against cytokines and their regulatory molecules

Academic Society Activities

Japan College of Rheumatology
Japanese Society of Allergology
Japanese Society of Internal Medicine
Japanese Society of Clinical Immunology
Japanese Society for Immunology


Professor Kei Ikeda, MD, PhD
Professor Kazuhiro Kurasawa, MD, PhD
Professor Masafumi Arima, MD, PhD
Associate Professor Reika Maezawa, MD, PhD
Lecturer Satoko Arai, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor Ayae Tanaka, MD
Assistant Professor Tomoyuki Miyao, MD
Assistant Professor Eriko Fukazawa, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor Anna Hasegawa, MD
Assistant Professor Tomoka Hiyama, MD
Assistant Professor Yuhi Yoshida, MD
Assistant Professor Yuki Aizawa, MD


Department of Rheumatology
Dokkyo Medical University
Kitakobayashi 880, Mibu, Shimotsuga, Tochigi, 321-0293 Japan