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Immune-modulation in autoimmunity and transplantation

Immune-modulation in autoimmunity and transplantation

Project manager: PD Dr. Elisabeth Zinser

The project group focuses on the immuno-modulatory properties of soluble CD83. Using this molecule, we inhibited the inflammation and disease associated symptoms in different murine autoimmune models. Furthermore, also the rejection of heart-, skin-, and cornea-transplants was reduced/ prevented by the sCD83 treatment. Regarding the mode of action, we found, that sCD83 induces regulatory T cells (Treg) and that the indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) plays a major mechanistic role.

Using conditional KO animals, whereby CD83 is specifically deleted in CX3CR1+ macrophages (ΜΦ), we are currently investigating the role of CD83 within these important immune cells. ΜΦ are the body's own phagocytes, responsible for detecting, engulfing and destroying pathogens as well as apoptotic/necrotic cell debris. Moreover, ΜΦ play an important role upon tissue regeneration after injury. Distinct ΜΦ populations will be characterized under steady state and inflammatory conditions by modern high resolution microscopy, immunological assays and proteomics analyses.

In addition, the group is actually investigating the precise function of sCD83-mediated immune-regulatory mechanisms using a murine model of corneal allograft transplantation. Within this subproject, we analyse whether the pre-treatment of donor tissue with sCD83 induces corneal allograft tolerance and inhibits rejection within the acceptor. Data established in the context of this project provide the basis for new therapeutic strategies in the field of transplant immunology.