Inflammation is a defense mechanism triggered by damage to living tissues to protect organisms from infection and injury. Its purpose is to localize and eliminate the injurious agent and to remove damaged tissue components so that the body can begin to heal. The fellow below investigates the role of an intestinal receptor in inflammation.

Anna Katharina Frank

Portrait of Anna Katharina Frank

Country of origin: Germany
Host: Tom Hemming Karlsen
Group: Experimental Hepatology
Thematic area: Immunology
Project title: Inflammation in liver disease. 
Liver immunology studies using a bile duct on a chip.

My project

Studies of the bile duct immunology are essential for developing immune based therapies seeking to treat life threatening liver diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and primary biliary cholangitis (PBS).

We are aiming to develop an in vitro perfused bile duct system with primary human and/or murine cells. The system will be perfused with bile and immune cells to establish an in vitro system closely modelling the in vivo situation in patients and mice. We will use the chip to model the interaction of bile with cholangiocytes and immune cells, and to modulate immunologic processes with pharmacological agents.

Amini Salah-Eddine

Amini Salah-Eddine

Country of origin: Algeria (but living in France)
Hosts: Ruzzin's Team
Group: Ruzzin's Team
Thematic area: Biology & Life Sciences 
Project title: Role of intestinal pregnane X receptor in inflammation

My project

Pregnane X Receptor (PXR) is a master regulator of detoxification and has thus a key role in protecting organisms against potentially harmful chemicals. Recently, PXR has emerged as an important modulator of inflammation. However, the mechanisms involved and the tissue-specific roles of PXR remain poorly identified. Indeed, the majority of PXR animal studies have employed total PXR knockout transgenic mice (PXR-/-), which does not allow determining the role of PXR in a particular tissue. In my project, my first objective is to determine how intestinal PXR modulates inflammation. To this end, I will use a new mouse model developed by the Host lab: mice lacking PXR specifically in intestinal epithelial cells (iPXR-/-). Furthermore, since microorganisms colonizing the intestine (i.e. intestinal microbiota) are known to regulate inflammation, a second objective of my project is to investigate the relationship between intestinal PXR and microbiota. Taken together, the findings obtained from my project will clarify the role of intestinal PXR and its impact on inflammation.

Intestinal inflammation has been linked to many chronic diseases -IBD, PSC, T2D- and a better understanding on how intestinal PXR can modulate and protect from inflammation will represent a substantial breakthrough that will attract great interest in the scientific community.