Stem cells in Allergy and Obesity
Hematopoietic Stem Cells
It was already shown in various investigations that environmental exposures such as for example cigarette smoke negatively influence our immune system and therefore enhance the risk for each individual to develop an allergic or atopic disease.
Cells which were already shown to play a significant role in allergy development are eosinophils. These cells are formed in the bone marrow from hematopoietic stem cells and differentiate either there to effector cells or are released as eosinophilic/basophilic precursor cells (Eo/B progenitor cells) into the blood stream and differentiate “in-situ” into mature effector cells.
There are already studies demonstrating that such hematopoietic stem cells/ Eo/B progenitor cells positively correlate with allergic diseases. In this context, patients with allergic rhinitis, nasal polyposis or asthma had a higher number of Eo/B progenitor cells in their peripheral blood compared to non-allergic individuals. How far environmental exposures influence the maturation and recruitment of these Eo/B progenitor cells was barely investigated so far.
Therefore, this question should be addressed both in the prospective mother-child cohort study LINA (Webseite LINA-Studie) as well as in the LIFE Collaborative Project LeGUA₂N (TP4 - peripheral stem cells; Webseite LIFE Verbundprojekt LeGUA2N) via functional methylcellulose assays.
Mesenchymal stem cells
Obesity prevalence’s and its related comorbidities are rising all over the world. There is emerging evidence that in addition to inadequate physical activity or excess of caloric intake further factors may contribute to excessive body weight increase. The exposure to ubiquitous environmental chemicals was discussed in this context as a potential trigger in overweight/obesity development, but existing studies are rare and insufficient. Therefore, this project aims to investigate the effects of various environmental chemicals (e.g. phthalates or bisphenol A) on adipocyte differentiation and maturation. Indications for relevant environmental pollutants are provided by the prospective mother-child study LINA (Webseite LINA-Studie). In addition, mechanistic in-vitro analyses are performed to investigate the effect of these chemicals on growth and differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells to mature adipocytes (e.g. by the use of real time monitoring).