Group of Immuno-Ophthalmology

Group Leader

Anu Kauppinen

Faculty of Health Sciences
School of Pharmacy
University of Eastern Finland
Yliopistonranta 1C, 70210 Kuopio

Tel.: +358-40 355 32 16
E-mail: anu.kauppinen (at)


Post-doctoral Researchers

Maria Hytti, PhD Pharm
Yashavanthi Mysore, PhD
Niina Piippo, PhD

Doctoral Students

Niina Bhattarai, MSc
Iswariyaraja Sridevi Gurubaran, MSc (
Essi Kahelin, BM
Eveliina Korhonen, MSc
Sofia Ranta-aho, MSc Pharm
Maija Toppila, MSc

Undergraduate Students

Sahra Omer, BSc Pharm

Major Research Interests

Inflammation is associated with various chronic diseases many of which have insufficient treatment options. Along with inflammatory signaling, we study more broadly cellular events in order to reveal molecular mechanisms and dysfunctionalities behind the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases.

Our main interests at the moment include cross-talks between inflammasomes, autophagy, mitochondria, and ER. These studies aim at drug development, and we are testing potential compounds that could rejuvenate the functionality of cells playing a major role in a certain disease. Our current clinical applications are mainly ocular diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), corneal disorders, and diabetic retinopathy (DR).

Selected Publications

Salminen A., Kaarniranta K., Kauppinen A. (2019) Immunosenescence: The potential role of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in age-related immune deficiency. Cell Mol Life Sci, In Press.

Hytti M., Korhonen E., Hyttinen JMT., Roehrich H., Kaarniranta K., Ferrington DA., Kauppinen A. (2018) Antimycin A-induced mitochondrial damage causes human RPE cell death despite activation of autophagy. Oxidat Med Cell Longev, In Press.

Korhonen E., Piippo N., Hytti M., Hyttinen JMT., Kaarniranta K., Kauppinen A. (2018) Dual role of p62/SQSTM1 in IL-1b-mediated cytokine release in human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Cytokine, 116: 70-77. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2018.12.015.

Piippo N., Korhonen E., Hytti M., Skottman H., Kinnunen K., Josifovska N., Petrovski G., Kaarniranta K., Kauppinen A. (2018) Hsp90 inhibition as a means to inhibit activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Sci Rep, 8: 6720. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-25123-2.

Piippo N., Korhonen E., Hytti M., Kinnunen K., Kaarniranta K., Kauppinen A. (2018) Oxidative stress is the principal contributor to inflammasome activation in retinal pigment epithelium cells with defunct proteasomes and autophagy. Cell Physiol Biochem, 49: 359-367. doi: 10.1159/000492886.

Arjamaa O., Aaltonen V., Piippo N., Csont T., Petrovski G., Kaarniranta K., Kauppinen A. (2017) Hypoxia and inflammation in the release of VEGF and interleukins from human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol, Jun 19, doi: 10.1007/s00417-017-3711-0.

Kinnunen K., Piippo N., Loukovaara S., Hytti M., Kaarniranta K., Kauppinen A. (2017) Lysosomal destabilization activates the NLRP3 inflammasome in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). J Cell Commun Signal, 11(3): 275-279, doi: 10.1007/s12079-017-0396-4.

Loukovaara S., Piippo N., Kinnunen K., Hytti M., Kaarniranta K., Kauppinen A. (2017) NLRP3 inflammasome activation is associated with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Acta Ophthalmol, Mar 8, doi: 10.1111/aos.13427.

Kauppinen A., Paterno J., Blasiak J., Salminen A., and Kaarniranta K. (2016) Inflammation and its role in age-related macular degeneration. Cell Mol Life Sci, 73(9): 1765-1786, doi: 10.1007/s00018-016-2147-8.

Piippo N., Korkmaz A., Hytti M., Kinnunen K., Salminen A., Atalay M., Kaarniranta K., and Kauppinen A. (2014) Decline in cellular clearance systems induces inflammasome signaling in human ARPE-19 cells. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1843(12): 3038-3046, doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2014.09.015.