Clinical and Experimental Immunology
Research projects of recent years concentrated on naturally occurring ways of immunomodulation as particularly operating in local immunity. There is a longstanding interest in finding out the molecular way of action of short chain fatty acids, which constitute essential nutrients of the colonic flora as well as of colonic epithelial cells and thus are important end- products of microbial fermentation in the gut. Among other SCFAs, n-butyrate proved to have a special role in this complex environment. Its various immunomodulatory properties seem to govern the delicate interplay between the bacterial microflora and the mucosal immune system of the host. Both its anti-inflammatory and its anti-cancerogenic properties, as well as its ability to orchestrate the development of gut tropic immune responses appear to be responsible for the impact of n-butyrate. Furthermore, Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein as well as pancreatic glycoprotein 2 seem to have an important role as endogenous immunomodulator in the urogenital and the gastrointestinal tract, respectively, which has been investigated recently by our group. Finally there is a great interest in the interplay between metabolic and immune signaling in order to better understand the impact of nutrition on the development of particular immune reactivity (as eg. also manifested by short chain fatty acids).