Inflammation is a fundamental process, dedicated to respond to changes in the homeostasis off an organism. In principle, inflammation is beneficial, but a continuous trigger of the organism can lead to chronic inflammation, which might lead to physical or mental decline. Also an acute imbalance of homeostasis, e.g. by burn, bleeding, surgery, trauma or infection can lead to acute inflammation, which might become uncontrolled and systemic and might lead to a life-threatening form of inflammation, as we know for example during sepsis. We are mainly interested in such acute inflammation. Our mission is to understand the complex interplay of mediators and cells, as well as the impact of macrobiotics (in the gut) and metabolism is the regulation of acute inflammation. We focus on several key molecules, such as glucocorticoids, the cytokine TNF, but also on interferons and matrix metalloproteinases. We are specifically studying the involvement of the gut epithelial layer and the epithelium of the choroid plexus, an organ in the brain which forms the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier. Our favorite animal model is the mouse, but studies using human samples of sepsis patients and neuroinflammatory pathologies (Alzheimer and Parkinson disease) are also used in our work. We commit ourselves to come up with the identification off new players and pathways in these diseases and with new therapeutic interventions.
Sub Team : Barriers in Inflammation
Staff Scientist : Roos Vandenbroucke
Topic : Barriers in Inflammation
Our team focuses on different mechanisms, including barrier function and extracellular vesicle production, at the gut and brain barriers and their importance in systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation. We are especially interested in one specific brain barrier, called the blood-CSF barrier located at the choroid plexus, a vascularized structure that hangs in the brain ventricles. We study its role as ‘missing link’ in the body-to-brain axis and its potential as delivery route of therapeutics to the brain, due to the unique position between blood and brain.
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01/02/2017 - Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s affect over 7 million people in Europe – a figure which is expected to double every 20 years as the population ages and thus poses a significant healthcare burden to European society.
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’.
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).
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.
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.