The project group focuses on the immuno-suppressive properties of soluble CD83 (sCD83). Using a recombinantly expressed sCD83 molecule, it was possible to inhibit the paralyses associated with EAE, an animal model for the early, inflammatory phase of Multiple Sclerosis in a prophylactic as well as in a therapeutic setting. Furthermore, also the rejection of heart-, skin-, and cornea-transplants could be prevented by the use of sCD83. Regarding the mode of action of sCD83, we could show that it induces regulatory T cell (Tregs) and that indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) plays a major role.
Interestingly, a naturally occurring sCD83 molecule has been identified in the serum of tumor patients, whereby high concentrations of sCD83 correlated with a reduced treatment free survival in CLL patients, indicating its relevance also in tumor patients. In the long run, sCD83 will be developed as a new therapeutic option also for humans.