Major research topics

The CNS as a target of pathological immune responses

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the CNS, which is characterized by neurological symptoms such as paralysis phenomena. T cells and macrophages play particularly important roles in the pathogenesis of MS, the treatment of acute relapses is mostly achieved by application of high-dose glucocorticoids. Our research deals with the influence of various immunomodulatory factors on the pathogenesis of MS as well as therapeutic mechanisms of glucocorticoids.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Graft-versus-Host Disease (GvHD) is a severe complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and mediated by T cells contained in the graft that cause severe damage in the instestine, liver and skin. Currently available therapies often fail and mortality is high. Our interest concerns the role of endogenous glucocorticoids in the pathogenesis of GvHD and the development of improved therapeutic strategies.

Inflammatory lung diseases

Allergic asthma is a highly prevalent disease which is characterized by an infiltration of the lung by eosinophil granulocytes. In contrast, neutrophil granulocytes are the dominant cell type in acute lung injury (ALI). While glucocorticoids are rountinely administered in the treatment of allergic asthma, their application in ALI is controversial. The aim of our work is to identify the mechanistic basis of glucocorticoids in both diseases and to identify new concepts to treat them.

Colon carcinoma as a consequence of chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are characterized by a disturbed balance of the immune system and lead to symptoms such as bloody diarrhea. Furthermore, the inflammatory reaction also coincides with an increased risk to develop cancer. Our focus is the immunomodulatory activity of glucocorticoids in the colon and their influence on tumorigenesis.
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