The brain has a special relation to the immune system: in the healthy state, cellular and soluble parts of the immune system are almost completely excluded from the nervous system. This is fundamentally different in a pathological state, where the nerve tissue actively supports immune processes, i.e. immune factors are produced and released within the brain. In this stage inflammatory cells also invade the brain periodically to different extents. The role of these cells in the pathogenesis of specfic diseases is often obscure. For multiple sclerosis, however, it is assumed that these cells falsely detect the brain tissue as foreign and start an attack that eventually leads to its destruction.

Research focus

The institute is dedicated to elucidating the mechanisms and factors that allow immune cells to enter the central nervous system, to communicate in this milieu and to influence the brain tissue.

The following objectives are being pursued:

  • revealing the basics of pathogenesis in (auto-)immune diseases of the nervous system,
  • deducing and developing new therapeutical approaches,
  • analyzing the mechanisms of action for (adverse) effects of new therapeutical procedures.