Development of autonomic control

Immature or deficient autonomic control is a common problem in infants born at a premature age and is of central importance in apneas, secondary hypoxic brain damage and sudden infant death syndrome.

Research group leader:

Professor/senior physician

Eric Herlenius


For better understanding of disturbances in respiratory control we study early development of cardiorespiratory control, brainstem neural networks and its associations with normal and pathological breathing. The conceptual change introduced by our recent data that endogenous prostaglandins are central pathogenic factors in respiratory disorders and the hypoxic response, open new diagnostic and therapeutic avenues that should significantly better the diagnostics and treatment of newborns and adult patients.

Inflammation is a major culprit in breathing disorders and we hypothesize that by using a newly developed urinary prostaglandin biomarker we can screen, detect and protect against inflammation related breathing disorders.

Our collaborative efforts enable us to move from a clinical problem to molecular understanding of the disease and studies are performed in patients, animal & in vitro models.

Our research is focused on the development of autonomic control with normal and paediatric patients as the target. Autonomic dysfunction in breathing and circulatory control often has its origin in neurodevelopment disorders. Furthermore, our basic research in developmental neuroscience how neural activity and stem cells form activity dependent networks is vital for the development of therapeutic interventions.

Group members

Thomas Ringstedt, Associate professor
Birgitta Böhm, Senior researcher
Yuri Shvarev, Senior researcher
Mirielle Vanpée, Senior researcher
Veronica Siljehav, MD, PhD postdoc
Giulia Aquilano, PhD
Johan Hamrin, MD, PhD student
David Forsberg, MD, PhD student
Kristin Leifsdóttir, PhD student
Ajay Ravela, PhD student
Sofia Ståhlnacke, Child psychologist
Torkel Mattesson, Student
Gustaf Drevin, Student



Veronica Siljehav; 2014-11-07
Neonatal respiratory control -  inspiration, inflammation and the prostaglandin E2 pathway

Jeongsook Park; 2012-01-20 (Licentiate)
Role of calcium in developing cellular network : Ca2+ in human fetal neural stem cells and rat neonatal cardiomyocytes

Jäderstad, Linda; 2012-01-13
Stem cell interactions with the injured brain.      

Zachi Horn; 2011-01-21
Cytoskeleton-interacting proteins in brainstem development.                       

Jäderstad, Johan; 2010-11-26
Neural stem cell engraftment: Functional interactions, brain repair and gap junctions.

Hofstetter-Olsson Annika; 2006-12-01
Apnea and infection in neonates: Mediatory role of interleukin-1b and prostaglandin E2

Saha, Sipra; 2006-06-14
mPGES-1: a key regulator of fever and neonatal respiratory depression                                    


Interaktiv communication
"Eric Herlenius, professor i pediatrik" (in Swedish)

Inspirational lecture: Professor Eric Herlenius
"To Breathe or not to Breathe: Activity dependent development of Inspiration",