Function and fate of liver resident macrophages (Kupffer cells) during Listeria infection

Project Details


The liver is a central organ for efficient metabolism of nutrients and for toxin clearance but also for immune surveillance against intravascular infection. Listeriosis is a foodborne disease caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, affecting mainly the liver and the brain in immunocompromised persons. Severe disease in pregnant women also results in abortion. Experimental Listeriosis in mice is used for >50 years as a model in the liver immunology field. Recent reports show that immune cells named macrophages consist of distinct populations, cells that reside in the liver before the onset of a disease and others that are recruited upon disease progression. Due to their diversity, hepatic macrophages can have a protective or destructive role in liver inflammation. Yet, the lack of unique markers identifying resident and recruited macrophages has so far hampered addressing their role in liver physiology. After having validated a marker gene that is specifically expressed on liver resident macrophages, named Kupffer cells (KCs), we have created transgenic mice that allow either, to specifically trace and deplete the KCs, or to knock-out a gene of interest only in KCs. The aim of this proposal is to use these mice to define the role and fate of KCs during Listeria infection. Macrophage therapy is becoming a reality in the clinics. Thus, understanding the particular function of KCs could provide novel concepts to alleviate infection-induced damage in this vital organ.
Effective start/end date1/10/1730/09/21


  • Kupffer Cell
  • Liver

Flemish discipline codes

  • Bio-informatics and computational biology not elsewhere classified