Research focus

In the healthy state, cellular and soluble parts of the immune system are almost completely excluded from the nervous system. This is fundamentally different in a pathological state, where the nerve tissue actively supports immune processes, i.e. immune factors are produced and released within the brain. In this stage, inflammatory cells also gain the ability to invade the brain. The role of these cells in the pathogenesis of specific diseases is often obscure. For multiple sclerosis, however, it is assumed that immune cells – T and B cells – falsely detect the brain tissue as foreign and launch an attack that eventually leads to its destruction.

The institute is dedicated to elucidating the mechanisms and factors that permit immune cells to enter the central nervous system, to communicate in this milieu and to exert damage to the brain tissue.

The following objectives are being pursued:

  • revealing the basic principles underlying pathogenesis in (auto)immune diseases of the nervous system
  • finding and developing new therapeutic approaches
  • analyzing the mechanisms of action for (adverse) effects of new therapeutic procedures

Below you can read about the research projects and technologies employed by our research groups:

Research groups within the institute

Francesca Odoardi

Live imaging of neuroimmunological processes

Francesca Odoardi

Autoimmunity is the result of a misled immune answer – the immune system targets components of one’s own body. The CNS can also be the target of such an autoimmune attack, despite appearing to be well shielded from the rest of the body. There is still no comprehensive understanding of the exact mechanisms that cause autoimmunity in the CNS. The approach of our research group is to uncover these mechanisms via modern imaging techniques. We strive to image in real time the autoimmune processes as they occur in vivo in different orders of magnitude, from organ to cell to molecule.

Dmitri Lodygin

Molecular and cellular neuroimmunology

Dmitri Lodygin

Autoreactive T cells play a decisive role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. Our research focus lies on the migratory behavior of T cells through the body, their reactivation in the CNS and tissue damage from inflammatory reactions initiated there by T cells. Moreover, our goal is to develop better animal models involving the newest genetic tools to allow us to better research the different aspects of human autoimmune CNS disease and discover new therapeutic approaches.

Fred Lühder

Genetische Neuroimmunologie

Fred Lühder

Unsere Gruppe bearbeitet vor allem 2 Gebiete:

1 - Grundlagenforschung zur Pathogenese von Autoimmunerkrankungen am Beispiel des Tiermodells “Experimentelle autoimmune Enzephalomyelitis“ (EAE) für die humane Autoimmunerkrankung Multiple Sklerose (MS)
2 - Die Untersuchung von Wirkmechanismen von gegenwärtig bereits für die MS-Therapie eingesetzten Arzneimitteln.

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