Research Groups

Cytokines and Disease

Research Interests and Description

Group Leader and Scientific Coordinator: Frank Brombacher, PhD

Group Members

Research Interests

Immunological mechanisms of host protection in infectious and non-infectious diseases.

Description of Research

The Group investigates immunological mechanisms in experimental murine models for human diseases. Major general topics include cytokine network and regulation, lymphocyte differentiation and function, dendritic cell and macrophage activation, as well as the role of non-immunological effector cells in health/disease like smooth muscle cells, goblet cells, activated by IL-4 and IL13. Current disease models under investigations include:

Bacterial Infectious Diseases
- Tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (aerosol).
- Listeriosis caused by Listeria monocytogenes.

Parasitic Infectious Diseases
- African trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma brucei/evansi/congolense.
- Cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major.
- Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) caused by Schistosoma mansoni.
- Hookworm caused by Nippostrongylus brasiliensis.

Non-infectious Diseases
- Allergic inflammation, induced by Ovalbumin, House Dust Mite, or Anisakis.
- Colitis, chemically induced by Oxazalone.

Our research strategy is based on gain of knowledge by a loss of function approaches in knockout and knockdown animal models. This includes the generation and characterisation of novel conditional gene deficient mouse strains. Together with transcriptomic approaches, the significance of genes, factors and cells for host protection and failure thereof are uncovered and possible factors for host-directed drug targeting identified. This supports our long-term goal for the development of safe and cost-effective drug and vaccination strategies.

Recent Publications

Nono, J.K., Ndlovu, H., Abdel Aziz, N., Mpotje, T., Hlaka, L., Brombacher, F. 2017. Interleukin-4 receptor alpha is still required after Th2 polarization for the maintenance and the recall of protective immunity to Nematode infection. PLoS Negl Tro Dis 11:e0005675 doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005675. eCollection PubMed link

Hoving, J.C., Cutler, A.J., Leeto, M., Horsnell, W.G., Dewals, B.G., Nieuwenhuizen, N.E., Brombacher, F. 2017. Interleukin 13-mediated colitis in the absence of IL-4Ra signalling. Gut doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313208. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed link

Brombacher, T.M., Nono, J.K., De Gouveia, K.S., Makena, N., Darby, M., Womersley, J., Tamgue, O., Brombacher, F.  2017. IL-13–Mediated Regulation of Learning and Memory. J Immunol 198, 2681-2688

Parihar S.P., Hartley M.A., Hurdayal R., Guler R., Brombacher F. 2016. Topical Simvastatin as Host-Directed Therapy against Severity of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Mice. Sci Rep. 6:33458. PubMed link

Hoving J.C., Nieuwenhuizen N.E., Schäfer G., Katz A.A., Brombacher F. 2016. IL-13 signals independent of IL-4 receptor-alpha chain to drive ovalbumin-induced dermatitis. J Invest Dermatol 1361286-1290 PubMed link

Kirstein F., Nieuwenhuizen N.E., Jayakumar J., Horsnell W.G., Brombacher F. 2016. Role of IL-4 receptor α-positive CD4+ T cells in chronic airway hyperresponsiveness. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 137, 1852-1862 PubMed link

ICGEB Cape Town

Wernher and Beit Building (South)
UCT Campus
Anzio Road
Observatory 7925
Cape Town
SOUTH AFRICA
Tel: +27-21-4066335
Fax: +27-21-4066060
capetownicgeb.org

 

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