News

Tue, 17/10/2017
Three new CRC associates
Muenster / Mainz / Munich. The CRC is proud to welcome three scientists as new associates: Muthuraman Muthuraman (Mainz), Anneli Peters (LMU) and Gerd Meyer zu Hörste (Münster). All three are reputable neuroimmunologists, who add their in-depth knowledge of techniques and concepts to the existing team. Dr. Muthuraman Muthuraman is head of the scientific working group […]...more
Tue, 12/09/2017
Genetically altered mice provide initial evidence that human gut bacteria can trigger multiple sclerosis
Munich. (LMU)  Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. There are many indications that MS is an autoimmune disease in which immune cells “accidentally” attack the brain and spinal cord. However, as with other autoimmune diseases, the actual triggers of the autoimmune reaction are still unknown. A new […]...more
Sun, 10/09/2017
SFB researcher acquired Hertie foundation funding
Munich. SFB CRC 128 researcher Dr. Klaus Lehmann-Horn, Department of Neurology, has acquired 396.000€ of funding as part of the framework „MyLab“, which is sponsored by the Hertie foundation. The duration of the project „Antigen-driven affinity maturation of B lymphocytes in meningeal ectopic lymphoid tissue in a model of Multiple Sclerosis“ will be 5 years, […]...more

News


Three new CRC associates

Tue, 17/10/2017

Muenster / Mainz / Munich. The CRC is proud to welcome three scientists as new associates: Muthuraman Muthuraman (Mainz), Anneli Peters (LMU) and Gerd Meyer zu Hörste (Münster).
All three are reputable neuroimmunologists, who add their in-depth knowledge of techniques and concepts to the existing team. Dr. Muthuraman Muthuraman is head of the scientific working group on biomedical statistics and multimodal signal processing at the Department of Neurology in Mainz (head: Prof. Frauke Zipp). Dr. Anneli Peters is project leader at the working group of Emeritus Director Prof. Hartmut Wekerle, focusing on the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. Dr. Gerd Meyer zu Hörste heads a scientific working group on understanding the interaction between nervous and immune system at the Department of Neurology in Muenster (head: Prof. Heinz Wiendl).


Genetically altered mice provide initial evidence that human gut bacteria can trigger multiple sclerosis

Tue, 12/09/2017

Munich. (LMU)  Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. There are many indications that MS is an autoimmune disease in which immune cells “accidentally” attack the brain and spinal cord. However, as with other autoimmune diseases, the actual triggers of the autoimmune reaction are still unknown. A new study by scientists from the SFB 128 demonstrated for the first time that gut bacteria of MS patients are able to trigger an MS-like disease in an animal model.
It has been known for some time that the individual intestinal flora, also called “microbiota”, has a decisive influence on the function of the immune system. In order to investigate the role of gut bacteria in the development of MS, the scientists chose a particularly promising approach: they compared the intestinal flora of identical twins. It is rare that a MS patient has a twin brother or sister; however in such cases, usually only one twin is affected by MS while the other is healthy. This is an indication that something other than genetic factors must play a role in the development of MS.
Within the scope of the cooperation project of the Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology at the LMU-Klinikum and the Max Planck Institutes for Neurobiology and Biochemistry, the intestinal flora of identical twin pairs, with only one twin suffering from MS, was compared. Since each pair of twins is genetically identical, the influence of the human genes on the intestinal flora can be neglected in the paired comparisons and thus MS-relevant differences in the intestinal flora can be identified.
Dr. Kerstin Berer and Dr. Lisa Ann Gerdes from the SFB CRC 128, together with their colleagues and with support from the German Multiple Sclerosis Society (DMSG), recruited more than 50 identical twin pairs, each with one twin suffering from MS (German Twin cohort). When comparing the intestinal flora of healthy and MS-diseased twins, some interesting differences were found. Most noteworthy, however, was the observation that genetically modified mice populated with gut bacteria from MS twins more often developed brain inflammation very similar to human MS than mice colonized with intestinal bacteria of healthy twins.
This is the first direct indication that the human intestinal flora actually contains components that start or promote the onset of multiple sclerosis. For Prof. Dr. Reinhard Hohlfeld, head of the Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology at the LMU-Klinikum, now the puzzle work begins: “In the next step, we must try to find out how it is possible that gut bacteria trigger an autoimmune reaction that ultimately which ultimately leads to the destruction of the brain and spinal cord. Because it is only when we understand the mechanisms better that we can influence them therapeutically. ”

Publication: Berer K, Gerdes LA, Cekanaviciute E, Jia X, Xiao L, Xia Z, Liu C, Klotz L, Stauffer U, Baranzini SE, Kümpfel T, Hohlfeld R, Krishnamoorthy G, Wekerle H. 2017. Gut microbiota from multiple sclerosis patients enables spontaneous autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.


SFB researcher acquired Hertie foundation funding

Sun, 10/09/2017

Munich. SFB CRC 128 researcher Dr. Klaus Lehmann-Horn, Department of Neurology, has acquired 396.000€ of funding as part of the framework „MyLab“, which is sponsored by the Hertie foundation. The duration of the project „Antigen-driven affinity maturation of B lymphocytes in meningeal ectopic lymphoid tissue in a model of Multiple Sclerosis“ will be 5 years, starting on January 1st.


Lecture: Latest research on HIV-1

Mon, 14/08/2017

Mainz. HIV-1, the major causative agent of AIDS, has infected more than 60 million people and caused around 20 million deaths worldwide (WHO report 2009). Prof. Frank Kirchhoff, director of the Institute of Molecular Virology, Ulm, is one of Germany’s most recognized scientists investigating HIV-1. Kirchhoff has been honoured by numerous awards – among them Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz award of the DFG (2009) – and by membership in the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina. Invited by SFB PI Prof. Ari Waisman, Frank Kirchhoff will present his latest research within the FTN Seminar Series.
When?: Tuesday, September 26, 6 pm
Where?: Building 706, University Medical Center, JGU Mainz


Visualizing context-dependent calcium signaling in encephalitogenic T cells in vivo by two-photon microscopy

Sat, 01/07/2017

Munich. In a recently published PNAS paper we visualized intracellular calcium in the encephalitogenic T cells in vivo by using FRET based sensor. The T cells showed short and long lasting calcium signaling dependent on their interaction partners. The blocking of the calcium signaling can be used as target of therapeutic treatments . More . . .


SFB researcher wrote paper of the month

Thu, 04/05/2017

Muenster. The article “Rapid and efficient generation of oligodendrocytes from human induced pluripotent stem cells using transcription factors” by SFB researcher Marc Ehrlich has been named “paper o the month” of May by the Medical Faculty Muenster. With this award the faculty honors excellent examples for the continuous output of its about 2.000 scientisits.


SFB Scientists reprogram skin cells to brain cells to facilitate neurological research

Thu, 16/03/2017

SFB scientists Prof. Tanja Kuhlmann und Dr. Marc Ehrlich generate oligodendrocytes from skin cells (photo: FZ/E. Deiters-Keul)

Münster. (mfm/jr) Whether it be math, writing, reading or learning a new language: brain cells give us astonishing brainpower every day. When these cells are damaged by neurological diseases, cells cannot be simply sampled and analyzed in a petri dish. Scientists from the University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine developed a new protocol to generate their brain cells of interest, oligodendrocytes, from skin. The team in Münster belongs to the few labs worldwide that have established this technique successfully in their lab; however the team in Münster can do this now much faster and more efficiently – with significant benefit for research.

Comparable to the insulation of wires that prevent short circuits, the axonal processes of neurons are covered by a lipid-rich sheath that allows the rapid transmission of nerve impulses. In Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological diseases this insulation – the so-called myelin sheath which is formed by oligodendrocytes – is destroyed. Despite intensive research efforts, there is still no cure for these diseases of the central nervous system as scientists still do not know enough about the underlying disease mechanisms. One reason for this lack of knowledge is the limited access to brain cells from patients due to the inaccessibility of the human brain and the high risk for patients undergoing brain surgery.

In order to obtain access and analyze human nerve cells regardless of this major obstacle, researchers from the Institute of Neuropathology in Münster chose the “do-it-yourself” option. Dr. Marc Ehrlich and Prof. Tanja Kuhlmann, both members of the SFB 128, developed in close collaboration with Prof. Hans Schöler and his colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Muenster a new method to generate human oligodendrocytes from patients without the need to access the human brain. To accomplish this, the scientists took skin cells from patients and reprogrammed them into induced pluripotent stem cells. These stem cells were subsequently turned into oligodendrocytes using a combination of proteins. “The three proteins we used regulate processes within the cell and start a maturation program that turns stem cells into oligodendrocytes”, explains neuropathologist Prof. Tanja Kuhlmann the procedure.

By this means, oligodendrocytes very similar to those in the human brain form a new insulation layer in less than one month.
Alternative techniques available so far require 70 to 150 days to generate human oligodendrocytes from stem cells. Due to its high efficiency this new method enables researchers for the first time to obtain large amounts of human oligodendrocytes and test large libraries of drug candidates on these cells. “This helps us to better investigate the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of complex diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and will hopefully facilitate the identification of new therapeutic agents in the future”, Dr. Marc Ehrlich points out the impact of their findings for future research projects.


Featured publication: Imaging matrix metalloproteinase activity in multiple sclerosis as a specific marker of leukocyte penetration of the blood-brain barrier

Wed, 23/11/2016

Münster – The enzymes gelatinase A/matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and gelatinase B/MMP-9 are essential for induction of neuroinflammatory symptoms in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS). In the absence of these enzymes, the disease does not develop. SFB128 scientists of Prof. Dr. Lydia Sorokin’s group, therefore, investigated the cellular sources and relative contributions of MMP-2 and MMP-9 to disease at early stages of EAE induction. They demonstrated that MMP-9 from an immune cell source is required in EAE for initial infiltration of leukocytes into the central nervous system and that MMP-9 activity is a reliable marker of leukocyte penetration of the blood-brain barrier.
The neuroscientists then developed a molecular imaging method to visualize MMP activity in the brain using fluorescent- and radioactive-labeled MMP inhibitors (MMPis).
By using radioactive MMP ligand in EAE animals the Muenster neuroscientists produced positron emission tomography (PET) images of MMP activity in patients with MS.
In contrast to traditional T1-gadolinium contrast-enhanced MRI, MMPi-PET enabled tracking of MMP activity as a unique feature of early lesions and ongoing leukocyte infiltration.
MMPi-PET therefore allows monitoring of the early steps of MS development and provides sensitive, noninvasive means of following lesion formation and resolution in murine EAE and human MS, the neuroscientists conclude. Their work was part of the SFB projects B03 and Z02.


Research into “accident black spots“: new hypothesis on the origins of centres of inflammation in multiple sclerosis

Mon, 21/11/2016

Münster (mfm/sk-sm) – The scenario resembles a serious motor accident: a car has spun out of control, breaches the central crash barrier and collides with the oncoming traffic. In the case of multiple sclerosis, harmful T-cells break through the protective blood-brain barrier and thus penetrate into the central nervous system (CNS), where they trigger a destructive inflammation. What’s special about this is that evidently the CNS also has “accident black spots” – in other words, places where an especially high number of centres of inflammation are be found. Neuro-immunologists at Münster University have now found out why this is so.
“The decisive factor is the interplay between the immune cells and the endothelium – a protective covering which is usually particularly non-permeable, demarcates our blood vessels and is also found at the blood-brain barrier,” explains Dr. Luisa Klotz, a lecturer, research team leader and senior physician at the Department of General Neurology at Münster University Hospital. In the case of multiple sclerosis the destructive immune cells have found a way to attack the endothelium directly and thus contribute to causing damage (lesions) in the brain. What was hitherto unclear was why certain regions are affected more often in the process while others remain protected.

PD Dr. Luisa Klotz and Ivan Kuzmanov at work in the laboratory (Photo: FZ/UKM)

PD Dr. Luisa Klotz and Ivan Kuzmanov at work in the laboratory (Photo: FZ/UKM)

Observations carried out on mice pointed out the way to a solution for Klotz and her team. The diseased animals originally had centres of inflammation only at places typical of MS lesions. After the researchers had switched off the inhibiting molecule B7H1 – which helps to keep the immune system in balance – the state of the disease in the animals deteriorated. Centres of inflammation were now to be found in other areas of the brain not normally affected. These new centres arose because the immune cells in this model triggered greater damage to the endothelial protective covering. As a result, the way was open to new areas of the brain. “Such an impairment of the endothelium’s function is a necessary – if not perhaps the only – condition for inflammatory lesions to arise. The underlying mechanisms of this impairment had not been known up to this point,” says Prof. Heinz Wiendl, Director of the General Neurological Clinic.
With their discovery the neuro-immunologists have also proved for the first time why even punctual changes in certain immune-regulatory molecules – as in the case of B7H1 here – can accelerate or slow down the destructive effect of the immune cells to such an extent. To return to the car metaphor: the speed limit on roads is just like the work on B7H1 for the Münster neuro-immunologists. “We have to use the properties of proteins such as this one to reduce the damage which the cells do in the nervous system,” is how doctoral student Ivan Kuzmanov explains the promising approach which he and his colleagues have adopted in the research they are currently engaged on. At the same time, however, he warns against any premature hopes: “We’re still a long way from here to producing medicine to treat MS,” he says.


Milestone in MS research: neuroimmunologists find cause of deficit in body’s own immune system

Tue, 25/10/2016

Within a project of the SFB 128, scientists from the universities in Münster and Munich have discovered what precisely goes wrong in the body in the case of multiple sclerosis (MS). At the same time the neuroscientists were able to demonstrate that for MS, which occurs in bouts, there is a therapy which is tailor-made to eliminate the deficit. More Information . . .


Stipend for International Cooperation with Turkey (Project B08)

Fri, 04/03/2016

Dr. Atay Vural has been awarded a stipend by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to spend time in the group of Prof. Edgar Meinl to conduct research into MOG-Ak, which is part of the work done in the CRC-TR128 B08 project. After Dr. Vural’s stay in Prof. Meinl’s group, he will return to his home country of Turkey, where he will employ the techniques learnt in Germany in further research projects.


Two young researchers from CRC TR128 awarded Helmut Bauer Prize 2015

Fri, 04/03/2016

Sarah Laurent und Franziska Thaler, scientists working on the B08 project of the CRC TR128, have been awarded the Helmut Bauer Prize 2015 for young researchers for their work on the survival, regulation and activation of B cells in multiple sclerosis (see publications below). More information on this prize can be found in this press release (in German).

Laurent et al. γ-Secretase directly sheds the survival receptor BCMA from plasma cells Nat Commun 2015 6:7333

Hoffmann et al. The immunoregulator soluble TACI is released by ADAM10 and reflects B cell activation in autoimmunity J Immunol 2015 194(2):542-52

 


Heinz Wiendl awarded Sobek Prize for MS research

Wed, 27/01/2016

Prof. Heinz Wiendl, Co-Speaker of the CRC-TR-128, has been awarded the prestigious Sobek Research Prize 2015 for his contributions to research into multiple sclerosis. More information can be found in this press release (in German)


CRC Principal Investigator, Prof. Jacqueline Trotter, together with Prof. Thomas Mittmann, discuss the role of glial cells in neuronal signalling on Deutschland Funk radio

Thu, 04/06/2015

You can read the associated article and listen to the interview on the Deutschland Funk website or using the player below.


Nina Wettschureck awarded prize for mechanistic elucidation of MS therapy

Tue, 21/04/2015

Nina Wettschureck (MPI Bad Nauheim) from the CRC-TR-128, together with Markus Schwaninger (University of Lübeck), has been awarded the Novartis prize for therapy-relevant pharmacological research. The prize, which carries a value of €10,000, was presented at the Annual Conference of the German Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (DGPT) on 12 March 2015 in Kiel.

More details can be found in this press release, and the research for which the prize was awarded was reported in the following publication in The Journal of Clinical Investigation:

Chen H, Assmann JC, Krenz A, Rahman M, Grimm M, Karsten CM, Köhl J, Offermanns S, Wettschureck N, Schwaninger M: Hydroxycarboxylic acid receptor 2 mediates dimethyl fumarate’s protective effect in EAE. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. doi:10.1172/JCI72151 


CRC Retreat in Münster

Mon, 30/03/2015

Thanks to all those that attended the Retreat in February in the Factory Hotel in Münster. We heard the latest on a selection of the CRC projects and there was also plenty of time for fruitful discussion and socializing in the evening.

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CRC scientists Nicholas Schwab and Johanna Breuer win Helmut-Bauer Young-Scientist Prize for MS research

Mon, 02/02/2015

Congratulations to the CRC Scientists Nicholas Schwab and Johanna Breuer from the Neurological Clinic of the University Hospital Münster who were awarded the Helmut-Bauer Young-Scientist Prize for MS Research. (more…)


CRC scientists discover new protection mechanism for nerve cells after they are damaged

Thu, 22/01/2015

CRC scientists from the University Medical Center Mainz, together with colleagues from the University of Virginia, have identified a new mechanism that mediates repair of nerve cells after damage to the central nervous system. (more…)


International Neuroimmunology Conference in Mainz

Fri, 05/12/2014

From 9-13 November 2014, over 1000 neuroimmunologists from all over the world met at the 12th International Congress for Neuroimmunology in Mainz. (more…)


CRC Young Researchers win prizes at prestigious conferences

Fri, 26/09/2014

Congratulations to Dr. Nicholas Schwab and Dr. Tilman Schneider-Hohendorf, both from the Department of Neurology, University of Münster, who received prizes at two prestigious conferences recently! (more…)


How adhesion molecules help pathogenic T cells to find their way over the blood-brain-barrier

Tue, 16/09/2014

Münster scientists: Even a highly efficacious MS drug cannot stop certain inflammatory cells (more…)


CRC Scientist Krishnaraj Rajalingam becomes Heisenberg Professor for Cell Biology in Mainz

Mon, 21/07/2014

Congratulations to Krishnaraj Rajalingam (Project B9) who has received a prestigious Heisenberg Professorship for cell biology at the Institute for Immunology of the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. This is the first such professorship for the JG University of Mainz. Further details can be found here.


CRC Retreat in Munich

Fri, 23/05/2014

Thanks to all those who attended the CRC Retreat in Munich in May. As well as having great weather, there were also excellent scientific talks and lively discussion during the poster session and in the Biergarten afterwards.

Special thanks go to the organizer Jutta Marks, who did a fantastic job in making this such an enjoyable meeting for all concerned.

Retreat Munich 2014


Münster: Scientists demonstrate the influence of sunlight exposure on the incidence of autoimmune diseases

Thu, 15/05/2014

(more…)


Skills Workshop in Frankfurt

Fri, 20/12/2013

Thank you to all those who attended the skills workshop “Career Options in Academia and Beyond” on 18.12.2013 in Frankfurt. (more…)


CRC Retreat in Münster

Thu, 12/12/2013

Thank you to all who attended the CRC Retreat in Münster on 28-29.11.2013. It provided a great opportunity for CRC members to meet and be updated on the progress of all research projects with lively poster sessions, interesting talks and stimulating discussion. (more…)


Videoconference of Prof. Gold’s talk

Thu, 12/12/2013

Thanks to all who participated in the videoconference of Prof. Gold’s talk in Mainz on 10.12.2013. (more…)


Successful videoconference of Prof. Wekerle’s talk

Fri, 22/11/2013

 

On Thursday 21.11.2013, we successfully used our new videoconferencing equipment here in Mainz to watch Prof. Hartmut Wekerle give a very interesting talk in München. Thanks to all those who helped to make this technically possible. (more…)


Nature Medicine paper from Münster research groups

Fri, 16/08/2013

Bittner et al’s paper entitled Endothelial TWIK-related potassium channel-1 (TREK1) regulates immune-cell trafficking into the CNS published in Nature Medicine is now available to be viewed here.


Neurosymposium

Thu, 08/11/2012

08.11.2012, 13:30: Neurosymposium:The Cell Biology of CNS Development, Myelination and Multiple Sclerosi, @ Johannes Joachim Becherweg 13, HS19, Mainz