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Photo of Dr. Otero

Miguel Otero, PhD

Photo of Dr. Otero

Miguel Otero, PhD

Back in the Game Patient Stories

Research Description

Dr. Miguel Otero is an Assistant Scientist in the Tissue Engineering Regeneration and Repair Program, where he is studying altered signaling pathways that prompt to joint tissue disruption in osteoarthritis.

Dr. Otero received his MSc in Biology and his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. After completing a period of post-doctoral training at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, he joined HSS as a post-doctoral fellow. He has been a Scientist at HSS since 2006.

His early research focused in the contribution of abnormal adiposity to rheumatic diseases, with emphasis on assessing the contribution of adipokines and its interacting partners to chondrocyte catabolism and joint destruction. Together, his early work represents a body of evidence that reaffirmed and highlighted the new view of abnormal adiposity and its secreted products as direct contributors to OA.

His current research aims to develop and combine in vivo and in vitro approaches that allow us to comprehensively study OA as a whole joint disorder. His long-term goal is to develop and utilize detailed cellular, molecular, and histological analyses designed to uncover distinct cellular and molecular signatures whose deregulation triggers joint disease. Ultimately, Dr. Otero's work aims to improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms that lead to disease onset and progression, and to develop approaches with potential therapeutic application. To this end, his research focuses on identifying and understanding the distinct cellular and molecular signatures that contribute to OA, with emphasis on understanding how the altered chondrocyte function and hypertrophy-like differentiation contributes to cartilage degradation, and also on analyzing the changes in and contributions of other joint tissues, including synovium, meniscus, bone, and adipose tissue.

To achieve this goal, he and his team are building models to:

  1. Identify specific cellular and molecular signatures in synovium and adipose tissue of patients with osteoarthritis, and evaluate the contribution of the abnormally produced cytokines and adipokines to disease onset and progression
  2. Characterize the contribution of altered DNA methylation to the differential gene expression observed in chondrocyte hypertrophic differentiation and its relationship with osteoarthritis development
  3. Investigate the contribution of IKKalpha/CHUK to cartilage homeostasis, and its influence in the hypertrophy-like conversion of articular chondrocytes in osteoarthritis

Industry Relationships

One of the goals of HSS is to advance the science of orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, and related disciplines for the benefit of patients. Research staff at HSS may collaborate with outside companies for education, research and medical advances. HSS supports this collaboration in order to foster medical breakthroughs; however, HSS also believes that these collaborations must be disclosed.

As part of the disclosure process, this website lists Research staff collaborations with outside companies if the Research staff member received any payment during the prior year or expects to receive any payment in the next year. The disclosures are based on information provided by the Research staff and other sources and are updated regularly. Current ownership interests and leadership positions are also listed. Further information may be available on individual company websites.

As of December 01, 2016, Dr. Otero reported no relationships with healthcare industry.

By disclosing the collaborations of HSS Research staff with industry on this website, HSS and its Research staff make this information available to patients and the public, thus creating a transparent environment for those who are interested in this information. Further, the HSS Conflicts of Interest Policy does not permit payment of royalties on products developed by him/her that are used on patients at HSS.

Selected Publications

Otero M, Peng H, El Hachem K, Culley KL, Wondimu EB, Quinn J, Asahara H, Tsuchimochi K, Hashimoto K, Goldring MB. ELF3 modulates type II collagen gene (COL2A1) transcription in chondrocytes by Inhibiting SOX9-CBP/p300-driven histone acetyltransferase activity. Connect Tissue Res. 2016 Jun 16. PubMed PMID: 27310669.

Eleonora Olivotto*, Miguel Otero*, Annalisa Astolfi, Daniela Platano, Annalisa Facchini, Stefania Pagani, Flavio Flamigni, Andrea Facchini, Mary B. Goldring, Rosa Maria Borzì and Kenneth B. Marcu. IKKa/CHUK regulates extracellular matrix remodeling independent of its kinase activity to facilitate articular chondrocyte differentiation. PLoS One. 2013 Sep 2;8(9):e73024 *Equal contribution

Otero M, Plumb DA, Tsuchimochi K, Dragomir CL, Hashimoto K, Peng H, Olivotto E, Bevilacqua M, Tan L, Yang Z, Zhan Y, Oettgen P, Li Y, Marcu KB, Goldring MB.E74-like factor 3 (ELF3) impacts on matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP13) transcriptional control in articular chondrocytes under pro-inflammatory stress. J Biol Chem. 2012 Jan 27;287(5):3559-72

Goldring MB, Otero M. Inflammation in osteoarthritis. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2011 Sep;23(5):471-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 21788902. (Review)

Tsuchimochi K, Otero M, Dragomir CL, Plumb DA, Zerbini LF, Libermann TA, Marcu KB, Komiya S, Ijiri K, Goldring MB. GADD45beta enhances Col10a1 transcription via the MTK1/MKK3/6/p38 axis and activation of C/EBPbeta-TAD4 in terminally differentiating chondrocytes. J Biol Chem. 2010 Mar 12;285(11):8395-407. Epub 2010 Jan 4. PubMed PMID: 20048163; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2832989.

Otero M, Goldring MB. Cells of the synovium in rheumatoid arthritis. Chondrocytes. Arthritis Res Ther. 2007;9(5):220. Review. Erratum in: Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(1):401. PubMed PMID: 18001488; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2212563. (Review)

Otero M, Lago R, Gomez R, Lago F, Dieguez C, Gómez-Reino JJ, Gualillo O. Changes in plasma levels of fat-derived hormones adiponectin, leptin, resistin and visfatin in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2006 Sep;65(9):1198-201. Epub 2006 Jan 13. PubMed PMID: 16414972; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1798289.

Otero M, Lago R, Lago F, Casanueva FF, Dieguez C, Gómez-Reino JJ, Gualillo O. Leptin, from fat to inflammation: old questions and new insights. FEBS Lett. 2005 Jan 17;579(2):295-301. Review. PubMed PMID: 15642335. (Review)

Otero M, Nogueiras R, Lago F, Dieguez C, Gomez-Reino JJ, Gualillo O. Chronic inflammation modulates ghrelin levels in humans and rats. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2004 Mar;43(3):306-10. Epub 2003 Nov 17. PubMed PMID: 14623951.

Otero M, Gomez Reino JJ, Gualillo O. Synergistic induction of nitric oxide synthase type II: in vitro effect of leptin and interferon-gamma in human chondrocytes and ATDC5 chondrogenic cells. Arthritis Rheum. 2003 Feb;48(2):404-9. PubMed PMID: 12571850.


Co-Director, Derfner Foundation Precision Medicine Laboratory
Assistant Scientist, Hospital for Special Surgery