Respiratory and systemic immune responses in human pulmonary viral infection and inflammation
With every breath we expose our lungs to foreign material that our immune system needs to tolerate or fight. Therefore, it may not be surprising that acute respiratory infections caused by inhaled viruses such as Influenza or Hanta viruses are the most frequent reasons for medical consultations in the world, and these infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality also in Sweden. Since the early spring of 2020 the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic also has a major impact on everyday life all over the world. Furthermore, inflammatory pulmonary diseases such as sarcoidosis result in higher mortality than that of the general population. Potent immune responses are critical to clear infection, but it also entails a risk that can worsen the disease outcome. A more detailed understanding of the initiation and regulation of immunity in these disease conditions is central to our capacity to advance prevention and treatment. Our research aims to understand the function and dysfunction of respiratory immune cells in the airways and lungs in different pulmonary disease conditions.
Infection or inflammation is often restricted to a particular site in the body and the immune cells are different depending on their anatomical distribution. Therefore, an important novelty of our work is that we study immune cells of the respiratory system, the site of infection and inflammation. We work in close collaboration with physicians to collect respiratory tissue and fluid samples, as well as blood, and apply a range of sophisticated immunological and cell biological methods to understand the detailed function of the immune cells. If we can correlate the phenotype and function of the immune cells to clinical parameters, this project could aid in the identification of novel biomarkers, as well as prepare ground for new treatments for pulmonary conditions.
- Studies of respiratory and systemic immune responses in human respiratory viral infection to understand what dictates disease severity (patient sampling and experimental work).
- In vitro virus infection studies to understand the mechanistic, functional consequences on respiratory and blood immune cells after infection (BSL2 and BSL3 experimental work).
- Immunological mechanisms of sarcoidosis.
We process a variety of tissue samples from human subjects (healthy controls and patients): blood, tonsils, nasopharyngeal and endotracheal aspirates, nostril swabs, saliva, bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchial wash, endobronchial biopsies, lymph nodes and lung tissue.
Techniques: Primary cell culture, cell isolation and differentiation, functional in vitro assays, DC-T cell assays, multi-parametric flow cytometry, cell sorting, virus propagation and in vitro infection and neutralization assays, confocal microscopy, immunohistochemistry, STED microscopy, ELISA, Olink, Luminex, SomaScan, mass spectrometry, quantitative RT-PCR, Western blot, ELISpot, tSNE analysis, RNASeq.