Central Nervous System Autoimmunity

Wildemann Brigitte Wildemann

Molecular Neuroimmunology
Department of Neurology
University Hospital Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 400
69120 Heidelberg
Germany

Phone:  +49-6221-567504
Fax:  +49-6221-565461
Email:  brigitte.wildemann@med.uni-heidelberg.de
Website:  http://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/neuroimmunologie

Research Summary:

Our research is intended to advance the understanding of immunologic mechanisms contributing to the pathophysiology of chronic demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis (MS), including rare entities like acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and autoantibody-associated autoimmune encephalitis. Our approach complements clinical and basic molecular and immunologic studies to strengthen the concept that a deficiency in immunoregulatory pathways is involved in the breakdown of peripheral immune tolerance in patients with MS. Unlike MS, NMO is associated with a disease-specific serum autoantibody (NMO-IgG), directed against aquaporin-4 (AQP4), an astrocytic water channel that forms an integral part of the blood-brain barrier. Here, we focus on the development of recombinant assays allowing the highly sensitive serologic detection of AQP4 antibodies and on elucidation of the prognostic and pathogenic potential of the autoantibody to mediate astrocyte loss, the key histopathologic feature that distinguishes NMO from MS lesions. Furthermore, we aim to identify novel autoantibodies in seronegative NMO (20% of cases) and autoimmune cerebellar ataxia.
 

Structure of the Group:

Group Leader Brigitte Wildemann
   
Senior scientists J├╝rgen Haas, Sven Jarius
Postdoctoral fellows Bettina Balint, Mirjam Korporal, Alexander Schwarz
PhD Students Miriam Milkova, Daniel Pfaff, Marijana Schumacher
Technicians Anna Maria Eschlbeck, Brigitte Fritz, Silvia Zacharevicz
Study Nurses:  Heike Miethke, Ricarda Schlicksupp

 

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Latest Revision: 2014-02-27
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