Our immune system gradually matures during the first year(s) of life. There is a notable immunological variation between individuals; partly determined by genetic factors but also by environmental exposures. A prominent environmental factor in this context, is the gut microbiota colonization/composition. The interactions between the early microbiota and the host will promote immune development and maturation. Disturbances during this early process generating microbial deprivation/deviation, could result in poor infant immune maturation and/or altered immune balance.

Our main research goals are to understand biological mechanisms behind (gut) microbe-induced immune modulation ­- how it drives immune development but also immune mediated diseases like allergy. We also aim to understand how the microbiota contributes to chemotherapy efficacy and toxicity as well as to the recovery of immune functions after cancer treatment. We perform cellular and molecular experimental studies in vitro with mammalian cells, bacteria and viruses, complemented by in vivo studies in murine models and work with human clinical samples.

 

Key words

Immune maturation, lactobacilli, Staphylococcus aureus, allergy, chemotherapy

 

Selected publications

Early-Life Human Microbiota Associated With Childhood Allergy Promotes the T Helper 17 Axis in Mice.
Petursdottir DH, Nordlander S, Qazi KR, Carvalho-Queiroz C, Ahmed Osman O, Hell E, Björkander S, Haileselassie Y, Navis M, Kokkinou E, Lio IZL, Hennemann J, Brodin B, Huseby DL, Nilsson C, Hughes D, Udekwu KI, Sverremark-Ekström E.
Front Immunol. 2017 Dec 1;8:1699. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01699. eCollection 2017

Insights into defective serological memory after acute lymphoblastic leukaemia treatment: The role of the plasma cell survival niche, memory B-cells and gut microbiota in vaccine responses.
Saghafian-Hedengren S, Söderström I, Sverremark-Ekström E, Nilsson A.
Blood Rev. 2017 Aug 26. pii: S0268-960X(17)30051-6. doi: 10.1016/j.blre.2017.08.009. [Epub ahead of print] Review

Probiotic Lactobacilli Modulate Staphylococcus aureus-Induced Activation of Conventional and Unconventional T cells and NK Cells.
Johansson MA, Björkander S, Mata Forsberg M, Qazi KR, Salvany Celades M, Bittmann J, Eberl M, Sverremark-Ekström E.
Front Immunol. 2016 Jul 11;7:273. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2016.00273. eCollection 2016.

FOXP3(+) CD4 T-cell maturity and responses to microbial stimulation alter with age and associate with early-life gut colonization.
Björkander S, Johansson MA, Hell L, Lasaviciute G, Nilsson C, Holmlund U, Sverremark-Ekström E.
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 Sep;138(3):905-908.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.04.027. Epub 2016 May 30.

Staphylococcus aureus-derived factors induce IL-10, IFN-γ and IL-17A-expressing FOXP3+CD161+ T-helper cells in a partly monocyte-dependent manner.
Björkander S, Hell L, Johansson MA, Forsberg MM, Lasaviciute G, Roos S, Holmlund U, Sverremark-Ekström E.
Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 26;6:22083. doi: 10.1038/srep22083.

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