P3 Role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in hepatic immune regulation

Principal Investigator:
Dr. rer. nat. Antonella Carambia
I. Medical Center
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistrasse 52
20246 Hamburg
Tel.: +49-40-7410-52495
Fax: +49-40-7410-59092
E-Mail: a.carambia@uke.uni-hamburg.de

Participating staff:

Marko Hilken – Technical assistant
Fenja Schuran, M.Sc. – PhD Student

Project description
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor that can be activated by a variety of environmental or metabolic ligands. AhR has been well-recognized for its fundamental functions in the immune system within recent years. However, the role of AhR in hepatic immune regulation is not clear.

We think that similar to AhR´s immunological function in professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and T cells, AhR might be critically involved in the immune function of liver APCs such as liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, Kupffer cells and liver dendritic cells. Therefore, AhR might be a key regulatory molecule for hepatic immune responses.

Moreover, we suggest that interfering with AhR function in the liver by application of tolerance-promoting AhR ligands might serve the re-establishment of hepatic tolerance and the treatment of inflammatory liver disease.