Bridging Brain Barriers

Group Members

Prof. Dr. Markus Schwaninger, Wiebke Brandt, Ines Stölting, Jan Wenzel, Dimitrios Spyropoulos, Hanna Graßhoff, Jakob Vielhauer, Josephine Lampe, Laura Hölzen, Tammo Gürtzgen, Joanna Kosinska, Nina Feller, Ümit Özorhan,  Adriana Arrulo Pereira, Micha Pense, Jascha Schumann, Riccardo Costalunga, Surya Rai

Research Interests

The brain depends on the supply of nutrients by other tissues. Vice versa, it controls all bodily functions. Therefore, a close interaction between the central nervous system and the periphery is required. In addition to classical communication channels provided by afferent and efferent nerve fibers, there is an exchange of messengers and metabolites at the interfaces of brain and periphery. The latter encompass the blood-brain barrier, the blood-CSF barrier and, less known, the tanycytic barrier between circumventricular organs and brain parenchyma. Our group investigates the structure and function of these barriers. Bridging brain barriers could be a key principle in the treatment of brain diseases.

Selected recent references

Muller-Fielitz H, Stahr M, Bernau M, Richter M, Abele S, Krajka V, Benzin A, Wenzel J, Kalies K, Mittag J, Heuer H, Offermanns S, Schwaninger M (2017) Tanycytes control the hormonal output of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. Nat Commun 8:484.

Wenzel, J., Lampe, J., Müller-Fielitz, H., Schuster, R., Zille, M., Müller, K., Krohn, M., Körbelin, J., Zhang, L., Özörhan, Ü., Neve, V., Wagner, J.U.G., Bojkova, D., Shumliakivska, M., Jiang, Y., Fähnrich, A., Ott, F., Sencio, V., Robil, C., Pfefferle, S., Sauve, F., Fernando Ferreira Coelho, C., Franz, J., Spieker, F., Lembrich, B., Binder, S., Feller, N., König, P., Busch, H., Collin, L., Villasenor, R., Jöhren, O., Altmeppen, H.C., Pasparakis, M., Dimmeler, S., Cinatl, J., Püschel, K., Zelic, M., Ofengeim, D., Stadelmann, C., Trottein, F., Nogueiras, R. Hilgenfeld, R., Glatzel, M., Prevot, V., Schwaninger, M. The SARS-CoV-2 main protease Mpro causes microvascular brain pathology by cleaving NEMO in brain endothelial cells. Nat Neurosci (2021) 24: 1522-1533

Wenzel J, Hansen CE, Bettoni C, Vogt MA, Lembrich B, Natsagdorj R, Huber G, Brands J, Schmidt K, Assmann JC, Stölting I, Saar K, Sedlacik J, Fiehler J, Ludewig P, Wegmann M, Feller N, Richter M, Müller-Fielitz H, Walther T, König GM, Kostenis E, Raasch W, Hübner N, Gass P, Offermanns S, de Wit C, Wagner CA, and Schwaninger M. Impaired endothelium-mediated cerebrovascular reactivity promotes anxiety and respiration disorders in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 117: 1753-1761.