Novel macrophage and myeloid dendritic cell markers for in vivo imaging and therapy of inflammatory diseases; inflammation trackin "inflammatrack".

Project Details


Macrophages (MFs) and myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) play a crucial role in immune and inflammatory responses. Besides being cells that capture and destroy pathogens and present antigens to T cells, MFs and mDCs are now well described as a heterogeneous group of cells with various specialized activities in different anatomical locations. Many of these activities appear to be antagonistic in nature, e.g. pro-inflammatory versus anti-inflammatory, immunogenic versus tolerogenic, and tissue-destructive versus tissue repair activities. The different functional properties of these subsets of cells are characterized by the production of a distinct set of mediators and expression patterns of various receptors, offering a whole range of diagnostic and therapeutic perspectives.
Partners in the consortium of the current SBO project have developed tools to analyze the genetic signatures of myeloid cells (MCs) and have generated a knowledge platform with information about molecular markers expressed by MCs in vivo in different activation states and in different inflammatory mouse models. In the current project we want to use this knowledge platform to validate selected MC (MF and mDC) markers for the purpose of in vivo targeting of inflammatory MCs.

More specifically, the aims are:

* as a first priority, we aim to evaluate the feasibility of tracking inflammatory processes, their evolution (spontaneous and in response to drug treatment) and the underlying mechanisms in living organisms through visualization of (anti-) inflammatory myeloid cells (and the MC markers they express) using in vivo imaging technology. Hereby, myeloid cell markers will be evaluated as targets for labeled marker-specific nanobodies and for nanobody-targeted lentiviral vectors carrying reporter genes;
* as a second priority, MC markers will be validated as targets for modulating inflammatory MC function in order to scrutinize the functional implication of the selected MC markers in the inflammatory process, thereby providing information on the molecular basis of the inflammatory process and leading potentially to therapeutic applications.
Effective start/end date1/01/0931/12/12


  • Applied Biology
  • cell markers

Flemish discipline codes

  • Biological sciences