Research group Domanska

Limiting inflammation is essential for survival. Neither pregnancy nor transplantation would be possible without immune suppressive mechanisms. However, these mechanisms increase the susceptibility to infections and, hence, must be tightly regulated. Our group focuses on immunosuppression in different diseases.

Immunosuppression in sepsis

Sepsis, defined as a systemic inflammatory response to a pathogen, is one of the most common causes of death in industrialized countries. The difficulties in treating sepsis are caused by the concomitant presence of both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory processes, which may result in profound immunosuppression known as immunoparalysis. We are focussing on the role of the tryptophan-catabolizing enzyme Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in sepsis. IDO contributes to life threatening immune suppression, since pharmacological inhibition of the enzyme improves survival in septic mice.

Obesity and immune function

Obesity, an excessive accumulation of body fat, was classified as a disease by the American Medical Association in 2013. It is a leading cause of preventable death by increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Interestingly, obesity also causes permanent low-grade inflammation. We are studying the effects of obesity on immunosuppression, which develops as a consequence of sepsis as well as of stroke. We are also addressing the possible links between obesity, inflammation and psychiatric disorders.