Our Lab

Live imaging of CNS autoimmunity

Welcome to the lab of Naoto Kawakami, PhD



Group photo of our lab


Our Aim

One of the typical pathological findings in Multiple Sclerosis, a human autoimmune disease, is mononuclear cell infiltration within the central nervous system (CNS). Among those cells, autoantigen specific CD4+ helper T cells play a central role in initiation of the CNS inflammation. The aim of our work is to visualize and to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of T cells infiltration into the CNS beyond the blood-brain barrier, and induction of CNS inflammation.

Our Approach

We use two-photon intravital microscopy to visualize genetically labelled autoreactive T cells in the Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis, an animal model for Multiple Sclerosis. For T cell labelling, conventional Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and Red Fluorescent Protein (RFP) are used. Additionally, functional imaging by using calcium sensing proteins is performed. Flow cytometry, immune fluorescence confocal imaging, and quantitative PCR are used to support findings from intravital imaging.

Our Support

The research group “Live Imaging of CNS Autoimmunity” is funded by the Hertie foundation and the Max Planck Society.




Prof. Dr.

Martin Kerschensteiner


Group Leader


Naoto Kawakami


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