The research group focuses on the study of intrathecal immune responses in neurological diseases, in particular multiple sclerosis (MS). Through this, we aim to understand disease mechanisms to contribute to more specific therapeutic approaches.
We have postulated that the immune response in MS is initiated by viruses, such as Epstein Barr virus (EBV), and is driven by T cells and B cells within the central nervous system (CNS). These cells could recognize an exogenous antigen, an autoantigen, or immunogenic determinants, idiotopes (Id), on immunoglobulin (Ig) VH- and VL-fragments expressed by B cells secreting the oligoclonal IgG in the CNS. To address these questions we study T cells and B cells from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of MS-patients.
We have used high-throughput sequencing to chart the T cell and B cell repertoire in the CSF. This enabled us to characterize the compartmentalization of the B cell and T cell responses within the CSF in great detail. Moreover, we demonstrated that T cell receptors against EBV accumulate in the CSF of MS patients.
More recently, we have established single-cell RNA-seq of CSF mononuclear cells and combine this with mass spectrometry of CSF proteins.
The research group employs a wide variety of techniques to map the cellular and humoral immune response in the CSF, such as high-throughput sequencing, flow cytometry, isoelectric focusing, immunoblotting, T cell cloning, and mass spectrometry.