The role of mucosal barrier function in the initiation of intestinal inflammation

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are characterized by severe chronic intestinal inflammation bearing huge impact on the quality of life

Incidence is high and escalating, and current treatments lack in efficacy and safety. Our overall aim is to elucidate mechanisms of epithelial barrier function, its role in interacting with commensal bacteria, and how this communication can be converted to the induction of IBD.

The studies will be based on our specific expertise and unique methodology (micro systems for studies of gut physiology in endoscopic biopsies; availability to inflamed and normal human intestinal mucosa), complemented with know-how from international and national partners to guarantee proficiency in all details. Recent original findings from our laboratory have demonstrated neuropeptide-releasing eosinophils as a previously missing link in the regulation of the epithelial barrier in ulcerative colitis. The importance of the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) in Crohn¿s disease has also been established.

In the planned projects we anticipate providing novel data on neuro-immune interaction with gut microbiota and probiotics at the frontline, i.e. the intestinal barrier (including FAE, mast cells, and eosinophils) during inflammation and stress. We will thereby increase the understanding of crucial steps in the pathogenesis of IBD and disease relapse, ultimately leading to novel therapeutic approaches for these debilitating diseases.


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Christine L. Zimmer, Erik von Seth, Marcus Buggert, Otto Strauss, Laura Hertwig, Son Nguyen, Alicia Y. W. Wong, Chiara Zotter, Lena Berglin, Jakob Michaelsson, Marcus Reuterwall Hansson, Urban Arnelo, Ernesto Sparrelid, Ewa C. S. Ellis, Johan D Söderholm, Åsa Keita, Kristian Holm, Volkan Ozenci, Johannes R. Hov, Jeff E. Mold, Martin Cornillet, Andrea Ponzetta, Annika Bergquist, Niklas K. Bjorkstrom (2021) A biliary immune landscape map of primary sclerosing cholangitis reveals a dominant network of neutrophils and tissue-resident T cells Science Translational Medicine , Vol. 13 Continue to DOI

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