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

Th9 cells in allergic diseases: A role for the microbiota? Badolati I, Sverremark-Ekström E, van der Heiden M. Scand J Immunol. 2019 Dec 6:e12857. doi: 10.1111/sji.12857.

Characterization of the γδ T-cell compartment during infancy reveals clear differences between the early neonatal period and 2 years of age. van der Heiden M, Björkander S, Rahman Qazi K, Bittmann J, Hell L, Jenmalm MC, Marchini G, Vermijlen D, Abrahamsson T, Nilsson C, Sverremark-Ekström E. Immunol Cell Biol. 2019 Nov 4. doi: 10.1111/imcb.12303.

Extremely Preterm Infants Have Significant Alterations in Their Conventional T Cell Compartment during the First Weeks of Life.
Qazi KR, Bach Jensen G, van der Heiden M, Björkander S, Holmlund U, Haileselassie Y, Kokkinou E, Marchini G, Jenmalm MC, Abrahamsson T, Sverremark-Ekström E.
J Immunol. 2020 Jan 1;204(1):68-77. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1900941. Epub 2019 Dec 4.

Extracellular Membrane Vesicles from Lactobacilli Dampen IFN-γ Responses in a Monocyte-Dependent Manner.
Mata Forsberg M, Björkander S, Pang Y, Lundqvist L, Ndi M, Ott M, Escribá IB, Jaeger MC, Roos S, Sverremark-Ekström E.
Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 19;9(1):17109. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-53576-6.

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.

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. No abstract available.

Postbiotic Modulation of Retinoic Acid Imprinted Mucosal-like Dendritic Cells by Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri 17938 In Vitro.
Haileselassie Y, Navis M, Vu N, Qazi KR, Rethi B, Sverremark-Ekström E.
Front Immunol. 2016 Mar 17;7:96. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2016.00096. eCollection 2016.

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.

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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