What we do

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common chronic inflammatory disease of the CNS, which causes prolonged and severe disability in young adults in North America and Europe. Clinical studies have shown that the time from clinical onset of MS to a moderate impact of acquired, irreversible disability on daily life ranges from 1 to 33 years. The disability in MS is directly correlated with the degree of axonal damage. Induction of neuroaxonal damage has been shown to be present early in the disease process and underlies periods of damage and repair.

The main goal is to better understand the complex dynamic interactions of immune cells with CNS cells by using intravital two-photon microscopy. This technique allows the visualization of cells and cellular effector functions, e.g. Ca2+ dynamics or cytokine expression, in the brains of living anaesthetized mice on a cellular level. This serves to understand the sequential steps of immune cell entry and local tissue damage processes. These studies have been accompanied by standard cellular and molecular biology analyses to identify new targets that might be therapeutically addressed.

Intravital microscopy of inflammatory lesions in the animal model of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis brain with inflammatory plaques(left) and tissue destruction ("black holes", right)