Jenny Hallgren Martinsson research group

Mast cells and their progenitors in lung diseases

Mast cells are rare immune cells, which upon activation cause powerful physiological effects in the body. They can be divided into subtypes that have different locations, characteristics, and contributions to diseases. In airway diseases such as asthma, mast cells become activated and contribute to the symptoms through the release of pro-inflammatory mediators. Moreover, mast cell numbers are increased at specific sites of the lung in individuals with allergic asthma, and they can therefore release even more harmful mediators. By modeling lung diseases in vivo, we have shown that the disease-related increase in mast cells in specific places of the lung is preceded by the recruitment of mast cell progenitors from the blood to the lung, which mature into mast cells.

The focus of our research is to dissect the mechanisms that govern disease-related increases of mast cells in the lung, their localization and maturation, and contribution to the specific diseases using in vivo models. Our main focus is on allergy and asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory virus infections, and lung cancer. Through collaboration with clinical researchers at e.g. Uppsala University Hospital, we also analyze patient material to translate our findings in vivo to the human disease. Another important focus of our research is to identify new biomarkers to improve diagnosis and prognosis in these lung diseases.

Feedback regulation of the antibody response

Antibodies, binding to their specific antigen and thereby forming an immune complex, can regulate the antibody response against this antigen. Depending on the class of the antibodies in the complex, the effects can be either suppressive or enhancing. We are interested in the mechanisms behind these regulatory effects of antibodies.

Jenny Hallgren Martinssons forskargrupp