Claude Libert Lab

Research focus

The inflammatory response is a fundamentally protective, complex and well conserved mechanism. It is actively involved in the induction of immune responses, e.g. against bacterial infection. Several key molecules in inflammation are normally kept under strict control. When this control fails, cytokines such as TNF, interleukins and interferons can cause extensive damage, leading to conditions such as chronic inflammation, sepsis or shock. We are interested in understanding the biology of some of these cytokines (TNF and IFNs), their receptors and their control mechanisms, and in evaluating their therapeutic relevance. The detailed study of the major TNF receptor, TNFRp55 forms an essential focus of our studies. We also focus on the anti-inflammatory mechanism of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and how TNF is compromising the function of the GR. We are identifying other potentially protective and harmful molecules and are studying them in mice. Among these are the members of the family of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which contribute to the development of inflammation. Besides a focus on groups of molecules, we also focus our attention on specific systems, such a the liver and small intestines. We are studying these molecules and systems in the context of inflammation and infectious diseases and have plenty of relevant mouse models up and running. One particular animal model that is proving useful in our research is the SPRET/Ei mouse, an inbred strain derived from Mus spretus.


LPS resistance of SPRET/Ei mice is mediated by Gilz, encoded by the Tsc22d3 gene on the X chromosomePinheiro I* Dejager L* Petta I Vandevyver S Puimège L Mahieu T Ballegeer M Van Hauwermeiren F Riccardi C Vuylsteke M* Libert C*EMBO Molecular Medicine, 5, 456-470, 2013* These authors contributed equally
Matrix metalloproteinase 13 modulates intestinal epithelial barrier integrity in inflammatory diseases by activating TNFVandenbroucke R, Dejonckheere E, Van Hauwermeiren F, Lodens S, De Rycke R, Van Wonterghem E, Staes A, Gevaert K, López-Otin C, Libert CEMBO Molecular Medicine, 5, 1000-16, 2013
The X chromosome in immune functions: when a chromosome makes the differenceLibert C, Dejager L, Pinheiro INATURE REVIEWS IMMUNOLOGY, 10, 594-604, 2010
IL-17 produced by Paneth cells drives TNF-induced shockTakahashi N, Vanlaere I, De Rycke R, Cauwels A, Joosten L, Lubberts E, Van Den Berg W, Libert CJOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE, 205, 1755-61, 2008
Inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases blocks lethal hepatitis and apoptosis induced by tumor necrosis factor and allows safe antitumor therapyWielockx B, Lannoy K, Shapiro S, Itoh T, Itohara S, Vandekerckhove J, Libert CNATURE MEDICINE, 7, 1202-1208, 2001


Belgian scientists discover missing link in septic shock

14/09/2016 - VIB & Ghent University Researchers discovered important mechanism of sepsis, an overreaction of the body’s immune system to an infection. In this condition, the brain is unable to curb an inflammatory response, causing organ failure or ‘septic shock’.

Disruption of brain-blood barrier might influence progression of Alzheimer’s

29/09/2015 - The team of Roosmarijn Vandenbroucke in the Claude Libert Group (VIB/UGent) combined their knowledge and expertise related to inflammation with the expertise in Alzheimer’s disease present in the Bart De Strooper Group (VIB/KU Leuven).

Various avenues to counteract TNF - crucial to tackling acute inflammation

25/08/2015 - ​The cytokine TNF plays and important role in acute inflammation and in a number of auto-immune conditions. TNF needs to pass on a signal in order to execute its role. This can be achieved by binding to a receptor.

New breakthroughs in TNF biology

19/09/2013 - Two new stories from the group of Claude Libert (VIB - UGent) increase our knowledge about the mechanism of TNF release, the role of the gutin TNF’s acute toxicity and the value of TNFR1 as adrug target.

A step forward in the fight against bacterial infections

01/02/2006 - Research by scientists from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected to Ghent University shows that certain mice, by nature, can withstand particular bacterial infections.

Claude Libert

Claude Libert

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


​PhD: Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, 1993
Postdoc: Instituto di Ricerche di Biologia Molecolare, Rome, Italy
VIB Group leader since 1997

Contact Info

VIB Center for Inflammation ResearchUGentUGent-VIB Research Building FSVMTechnologiepark 927 9052 GENTRoute description