Lab Projects

We are investigating the immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis based on human tissue, CSF and blodd samples. Currently our lab is focussing on the following projects:

Microenvironment of MS lesions

The complex interplay between invading immune cells and brain resident cells determines the development of MS lesions. To get further insight into this complex microenvironment, we established transcript profiles of dissected MS lesions from autopsy tissue using qPCR. Depending on the specific question we use frozen or archival FFPE tissue, dissect the whole lesion are or individual cells. Our studies gave insight into mechanisms of B cell survival and attraction, the role of astrocytes in both innate and adaptive immune reactions in the CNS.

Autoantibodies in MS patients

Autoantibodies are expected to be involved in the disease development of at least a proportion of MS patients. This is suggested by neuropathological examinations of MS lesions, the clinical response to plasmapheresis and recently observed effects of IgG of MS patients in an in vitro myelination system. We aim to identify novel targets of autoantibodies and to characterize the autoimmune response to candidate autoantigens.

One of the most studied candidate autoantigen is MOG.

Immunomodulatory treatment of MS patients

The possibilities to treat the relapsing remitting form of MS have increased in the last years and different substances are available. The understanding of the mechanism of action of immunomodulatory drugs given to MS patients and the monitoring of the biological response of the treated patients is a long-standing part of our research. We have analysed effects of Cop-1, IFN-ß, natalizumab, and rituximab on circulating immune cells of treated patients using flow cytometry, qPCR, and ELISPOT. This helps to optimize the individual therapy. Current research aims to understand effects of fingolimod on glial cells.


Prof. Dr.

Reinhard Hohlfeld


Prof. Dr.

Martin Kerschensteiner


Group Leader

Prof. Dr.

Edgar Meinl


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