Elucidating the role of liver resident Kupffer cells in the regulation of the immune responses to intestinal antigens

01 January 2016 → 31 December 2018
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Infectious diseases
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Clinical microbiology
    • Inflammation
plant genetics liver
Project description

Food allergies and inflammatory bowel diseases are increasing health problems in industrialised
countries. These diseases result from an abnormality in the way the immune system reacts to
harmless materials in our gut such as foods and friendly bacteria. To be in a position to design new
and improved ways of treating or preventing these disorders, we must first understand the
processes that usually prevent them in healthy individuals. The liver drains all the blood coming
from the intestine and has long been thought to be important in controlling immune responses to
these materials. However, the precise cell(s) involved, or the underlying molecular mechanisms are
still unknown. This project aims to address this gap in knowledge by applying new methods to study
Kupffer cells (KCs), which are not only the most abundant immune cells in the liver but also the first
immune cells to be in contact with materials entering the liver from the intestine. To do this, I will
examine what happens when KCs acquire these agents and how they then regulate the immune
response to them.