The LINA StudyLINA: Lifestyle and environmental factors and their influence on the newborn allergy risk
Crucial for the development of appropriate strategies for diagnosis and therapy, and especially for the prevention of environment-associated diseases at the individual level, is a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms by which and the sensitive time windows in which environmental factors can contribute to disease development. It is important to consider the whole chain of events: from the individual complex exposure to multiple environmental stresses, their influence on molecular signalling pathways and cellular functions to the resulting effects in the entire organism.
Our immune system is particularly sensitive to environmental stresses during the maturation phase before birth and in the early childhood. The focus of our science in the Department of Environmental Immunology is on those sensitive time slots. We use population-based cohort studies for example the LISAplus Study, a multicentric German birth cohort, and the LINA Study, a mother-child-cohort, to investigate how environmental impacts and especially chemicals can affect the development of children’s immune system in the pre- and early postnatal phase and how the consequences of environmental impacts can influence the immune regulation regarding diseases in their future life. If there is evidence from cohort studies of disease risks from specific chemicals or pollutants, cell-based in vitro models are used to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms and identify dysregulated signalling pathways. We use murine disease models to investigate the transmission of health risks through environmental pollution from one generation to the next and to test possibilities for prevention and therapy by elucidating the molecular mechanisms.