PD Dr. Tobias Polte


PD Dr. Tobias Polte

Scientist, Deputy Head of the Department, Theme Coordinator of
Perinatal exposure and offspring health
and Platform Coordinator of

Helmholtz Centre for
Environmental Research – UFZ
Department of Environmental Immunology
Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

Phone: +49 341 235-1545

Tobias Polte - Experimental Allergology and Immunology
Photo: Sebastian Wiedling/UFZ

Research Interests

Currently we are investigating in different murine disease models the role of environmental pollutants as risk factors in the development of immune diseases like allergic asthma or rheumatoid arthritis but also possible effects on metabolism or behaviour. Thereby we are in particular looking on the impact of maternal exposure to environmental pollutants on the disease risk of the offspring. Another topic are gene-environment interactions. The long-term objective of our research is the development of new prevention and therapeutic strategies for immune diseases.

Curriculum vitae / Scientific career

Since 2020

Deputy Head of the Department Environmental Immunology, UFZ Leipzig

2018 - 2020

Acting Head of the Department Environmental Immunology, UFZ Leipzig

2016 - 2018

Deputy Head of the Department Environmental Immunology, UFZ Leipzig

Since 2012

Head of the Helmholtz University Research Group Experimental Allergy and Immunology


Habilitation and Venia legendi at the Leipzig University, Faculty of Medicine

2007 - 2012

Head of a Helmholtz University Young Investigators Group at the UFZ and the University of Leipzig

2002 - 2007

Postdoc in the Junior Research Group of Prof. Gesine Hansen at the Medical School of the Martin Luther University, Halle


Postdoc at the Department of Pediatrics, Stanford Medical School, Stanford University (USA)

2000 - 2002

Postdoc at the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Bath (UK)

1997 - 2000

PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology,
Martin Luther University, Halle

1996 - 1997

Graduand at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Martin Luther University, Halle

1991 - 1995

Study of Pharmacy at the Martin Luther University, Halle



Brigitte-Gedek-Science-Award of the Society for Mycotoxin Research


Wilhelm-Roux Award of the Martin Luther University, Halle

2000 - 2002

Postdoctoral fellowship of the German Research Council (DFG)


Dorothea Erxleben Award of the Martin Luther University, Halle


Junge KM*, Buchenauer L*, Elter E*, Butter K*, Kohajda T, Herberth G, Röder S, Borte M, Kiess W, von Bergen M, Simon JC, Rolle-Kampczyk UE, Lehmann I, Gminskik R, Ohlmeyer M, Polte T (2021).Wood emissions and asthma development: Results from an experimental mouse model and a prospective cohort study. Environ Int 151:106449

*shared authorship

Elter E, Wagner M, Buchenauer L, Bauer M, Polte T (2020). Phthalate exposure during the prenatal and lactational period increases the susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis in mice. Front Immunol 11:550

Leppert B, Strunz S, Seiwert B, Schlittenbauer L, Schlichting R, Pfeiffer C, Röder S, Bauer M, Borte M, Stangl GI, Schöneberg T, Schulz A, Karkossa I, Rolle-Kampczyk UE, Thürmann L, von Bergen M, Escher BI, Junge KM., Reemtsma T., Lehmann I, Polte T (2020). Maternal paraben exposure triggers childhood overweight development. Nat. Commun. 2020;11 , art. 561

Junge KM*, Leppert B*, Jahreis S, Wissenbach DK, Feltens R, Grützmann K, Thürmann L, Bauer T, Ishaque N, Schick M, Bewerunge-Hudler M, Röder S, Bauer M, Schulz A, Borte M, Landgraf K, Körner A, Kiess W, von Bergen M, Stangl GI, Trump S*, Eils R*, Polte T*, Lehmann I* (2018). MEST mediates the impact of prenatal bisphenol A exposure on long-term body weight development. Clinical Epigenetics doi.org/10.1186/s13148-018-0478-z

*shared authorship

Schulze J, Kuhn S, Hendrikx S, Schulz-Siegmund M, Polte T, Aigner A (2018). Spray dried Nanoparticle-in-Microparticle Delivery Systems (NiMDS) for Gene Delivery, Comprising Polyethylenimine (PEI)-based Nanoparticles in a Poly(vinyl alcohol) matrix. Small 10.1002/smll.201701810. [Epub ahead of print]

Thürmann L, Grützmann K, Klöss M, Bieg M, Winter M, Polte T, Bauer T, Röder S, Bauer M, Winter M, Wissenbach DK, Weichenhan D, Mücke O, Plass C, Borte M, von Bergen M, Lehmann I, Eils R, Trump S (2017). Early-onset childhood atopic dermatitis is related to NLRP2 repression. J Allergy Clin Immunol 141(4):1482-1485

Jahreis S, Kuhn S, Madaj AM, Bauer M, Polte T (2017). Mold metabolites drive rheumatoid arthritis in mice via promotion of IFN-gamma- and IL-17-producing T cells. Food Chem Toxicol 109:405-413

Averbeck M, Kuhn S, Bühligen J, Götte M, Simon JC, Polte T (2017). Syndecan-1 regulates dendritic cell migration in cutaneous hypersensitivity to haptens. Exp Dermatol doi: 10.1111/exd.13374.

Jahreis S, Trump S, Bauer M, Bauer T, Thürmann L, Feltens R, Wang Q, Gu L, Grützmann K, Röder S, Averbeck M, Weichenhan D, Plass C, Sack U, Borte M, Dubourg V, Schüürmann G, Simon JC, von Bergen M, Hackermüller J, Eils R, Lehmann I, Polte T (2017). Maternal phthalate exposure promotes allergic airway inflammation over two generations via epigenetic modifications. J Allergy Clin Immunol 141(2):741-753 

Escher B*, Hackermüller J*, Polte T*, Scholz S* et al. (2016). From the exposome to mechanistic understanding of chemical-induced adverse effects. Environ Int 99:97-106

*shared authorship

Schütze N, Trojandt S, Kuhn S, Tomm JM, von Bergen M, Simon JC, Polte T (2016). Allergen-Induced IL-6 Regulates IL-9/IL-17A Balance in CD4+ T Cells in Allergic Airway Inflammation. J Immunol 197:2653-64

Bauer T, Trump S, Ishaque N, Thürmann L, Gu L, Bauer M, Bieg M, Gu Z, Weichenhan D, Mallm J, Röder S, Herberth G, Takada E, Mücke O, Winter M, Junge KM, Grützmann K, Rolle-Kampczyk U, Wang Q, Lawerenz C, Borte M, Polte T, Schlesner M, Schanne M, Wiemann S, Geörg C, Stunnenberg HG, Plass C, Rippe K, Mizuguchi J, Herrmann C, Eils R, Lehmann I (2016). Environment-induced epigenetic reprogramming in genomic regulatory elements in smoking mothers and their children. Mol Syst Biol 12:861

Polte T, Petzold S, Bertrand J, Schütze N, Hinz D, Simon JC, Lehmann I, Echtermeyer F, Pap T, Averbeck M (2015). Critical role for syndecan-4 in dendritic cell migration during development of allergic airway inflammation. Nat Commun 6:7554

Meister J, Le Duc D, Ricken A, Burkhardt R, Thiery J, Pfannkuche H, Polte T, Grosse J, Schoneberg T, Schulz A (2014). The G Protein-coupled Receptor P2Y14 Influences Insulin Release and Smooth Muscle Function in Mice. J Biol Chem 289:23353-66

Petzold S, Averbeck M, Simon JC, Lehmann I, Polte T (2014). Lifetime-dependent effects of bisphenol A on asthma development in an experimental mouse model. Plos One 9: e100468

Gasch M, Goroll T, Bauer M, Hinz D, Schütze N, Polte T, Kesper D, Simon JC, Hackermüller J, Lehmann I, Herberth G (2014). Generation of IL-8 and IL-9 producing CD4⁺ T cells is affected by Th17 polarizing conditions and AHR ligands. Mediators Inflamm:182549

Rothemund S, Sonnichsen F, Polte T (2013). Therapeutic potential of the peptide leucine arginine (pLR) as a new non-plant bowman-birk like serine-protease inhibitor. J Med Chem 56: 6732-6744

Reiprich M, Rudzok S, Schütze N, Simon JC, Lehmann I, Trump S, Polte T (2013). Inhibition of endotoxin-induced perinatal asthma protection by pollutants in an experimental mouse model. Allergy 68: 481-489

Bönisch U, Böhme A, Kohajda T, Mögel I, Schütze N, von Bergen M, Simon JC, Lehmann I, Polte T (2012). Volatile organic compounds enhance allergic airway inflammation in an experimental mouse model. Plos One 7: e39817

Schubert K, Polte T, Bönisch U, Schader S, Holtappels R, Hildebrandt G, Lehmann J, Simon JC, Anderegg U, Saalbach A (2011). Thy-1 (CD90) regulates the extravasation of leukocytes during inflammation. Eur J Immunol 41: 645-56.

Bohnekamp J, Böselt I, Saalbach A, Tönjes A, Kovacs P, Biebermann H, Manvelyan HM, Polte T, Gasperikova D, Lkhagvasuren S, Baier L, Stumvoll M, Römpler H, Schöneberg T (2010). Involvement of the chemokine-like receptor GPR33 in innate immunity. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 396: 272-277

Schütze N, Lehmann I, Bönisch U, Simon JC, Polte T (2010). Exposure to mycotoxins increases the allergic immune response in a murine asthma model. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 181: 1188-1199.

Polte T, Fuchs L, Behrendt AK, Hansen G (2009). Different role of CD30 in the development of acute and chronic airway inflammation in a murine asthma model. Eur J Immunol 39: 1736-1742

Bickert T, Trujillo-Vargas CM, Duchs M, Wohlleben G, Polte T, Hansen G, Oelschlaeger T, Erb KJ (2009). Probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 suppresses allergen-induced Th2 responses in the airways. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 149: 219-230

Polte T, Hennig C, Hansen G (2008). Allergy prevention starts before conception: Materno-fetal transfer of tolerance protects from the development of asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 122: 1022-1030

Müller U, Stenzel W, Köhler G, Polte T, Blessing M, Mann A, Piehler D, Brombacher F, Alber G (2008). A gene-dosage effect for IL-4Ralpha expression has an impact on Th2-mediated allergic inflammation during bronchopulmonary mycosis. J Infect Dis 198: 1714-1721

Polte T, Hansen G (2008). Maternal tolerance achieved during pregnancy is transferred to the offspring via breast milk and persistently prevents the offspring from allergic asthma. Clin Exp Allergy 38: 1950-1958

Müller U, Stenzel W, Köhler G, Werner C, Polte T, Hansen G, Schütze N, Straubinger RK, Blessing M, McKenzie ANJ, Brombacher F, Alber G (2007). IL‑13 induces disease‑promoting type-2 cytokines, alternatively activated macrophages and allergic inflammation during pulmonary infection of mice with Cryptococcus neoformans. J Immunol 179: 5367-77

Polte T, Jagemann A, Foell J, Mittler RS, Hansen G (2007). CD137 ligand prevents the development of Th2-cell mediated allergic asthma by IFN-gamma producing CD8+ T cells. Clin Exp Allergy 37: 1374-1385.

Lin Q, Weis S, Yang G, Weng YH, Helston R, Rish K, Smith A, Bordner J, Polte T, Gaunitz F, Dennery PA (2007). Heme oxygenase-1 protein localizes to the nucleus and activates transcription factors important in oxidative stress. J Biol Chem 282: 20621-20633.

Trujillo-Vargas CM, Wohlleben G, Polte T, Hansen G, Ehlers S, Erb KJ (2007). Helminth derived products inhibit the development of allergic responses in mice. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 175:336-44.

Basu-Modak S, Ali D, Gordon M, Polte T, Yiakouvaki A, Pourzand C, Rice-Evans C, Tyrrell RM (2006). Suppression of UVA-mediated release of labile iron by epicatechin – a link to lysosomal protection. Free Radic Biol Med 41: 1197-2004

Polte T, Behrendt AK, Hansen G (2006). Direct evidence for a critical role of CD30 in the development of allergic asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 118: 942-948

Polte T, Foell J, Werner C, Hoymann HG, Braun A, Burdach S, Mittler RS, Hansen G (2006). CD137-mediated immunotherapy for allergic asthma. J Clin Invest 116: 1025-1036

Trujillo-Vargas CM, Mayer KD, Bickert T, Palmetshofer A, Grunewald S, Ramirez-Pineda, JR, Polte T, Hansen G, Wohlleben G, Erb KJ (2005). Vaccination with Th1 directing adjuvants have different suppressive effects on the development of allergen-induced Th2 responses. Clin Exp Allergy 35: 1003-1013

Polte T, Tyrrell RM (2004). Involvement of lipid peroxidation and organic peroxides in UVA-induced MMP-1 expression. Free Radic Biol Med 36: 1566-1574

Polte T, Hemmerle A, Grosser N, Abate A, Schröder H (2002). Atrial natriuretic peptide reduces cyclosporin toxicity in renal cells: role of cGMP and heme oxygenase-1. Free Radic Biol Med 32: 56-63

Polte T, Abate A, Dennery PA, Schröder H (2000). Heme oxygenase-1 is a cyclic GMP-inducible protein and mediates the cytoprotective action of nitric oxide. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 20: 1209-1215

Polte T, Schröder H (1998). Cyclic AMP mediates endothelial protection by nitric oxide. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 251: 460-465

Oberle S, Polte T, Abate A, Podhaisky HP, Schröder H (1998). Aspirin increases ferritin synthesis in endothelial cells: A novel antioxidant pathway. Circ Res 82: 1016-1020

Podhaisky HP, Abate A, Polte T, Oberle S, Schröder H (1997). Aspirin protects endothelial cells from oxidative stress - possible synergism with vitamin E. FEBS Lett 417: 349-351

Polte T, Oberle S, Schröder H (1997). The nitric oxide donor SIN-1 protects endothelial cells from tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated cytotoxicity: Possible role for cyclic GMP and heme oxygenase. J Mol Cell Cardiol 29: 3305-3310

Polte T, Oberle S, Schröder H (1997). Nitric oxide protects endothelial cells from tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated cytotoxicity: possible involvement of cyclic GMP. FEBS Lett 409: 46-48