Allergy Research Group
Group Leader: Frank Kirstein
Phone: +27 21 406 6035
Office: Wernher & Beit Bldg South S1.21
The Allergy Research Group aims to provide a better understanding of the immunological mechanisms involved in the onset and maintenance of allergic reactions including asthma. Basic research in the Allergy Section has focused on the T-cell cytokine responses to allergens as well as the application of novel assays to identify sensitivity profiles. The focus is on the contributions of cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 to disease development on a cellular and tissue-specific level. To do this, researchers examine ovalbumin or house dust mite induced asthma as disease paradigms in transgenic mouse models. They use state-of-the-art techniques to analyse immune responses (multicolour FACS, intracellular cytokine staining) and lung pathology (whole body plethysmography, flexiVent).
- Investigation of cellular and molecular mechanisms behind the progression from eczema (atopic dermatitis) to allergic asthma in mouse models
- Investigation of allergic airway reactions with focus on the role of IL-4 and IL-13 using IL-4 receptor alpha deficient mice.
- Investigation of allergen specific Th-17 responses and their influence on steroid sensitivity in mouse models of allergic asthma
- Immunology of occupational non-allergic alveolitis
- The role of β-glucan in the pathogenesis of asthma
- Generation of transgenic mouse models
- Horsnell, WG, Darby MG, Hoving JC, Nieuwenhuizen N, McSorley HJ, Ndlovu H, Bobat S, Kimberg M, Kirstein F, Cutler AJ, DeWals B, Cunningham AF, Brombacher F. IL-4Rα-Associated Antigen Processing by B Cells Promotes Immunity in Nippostrongylus brasiliensis Infection. PLoS Pathogens 2013. 9(10): e1003662. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003662. I.F. 8.136.
- Gogishvili T, Lühder F, Kirstein F, Nieuwenhuizen N, Goebbels S, Beer-Hammer S, Pfeffer K, Reuter S, Taube C, Brombacher F and Hünig T. Interruption of CD28-mediated costimulation during allergen challenge protects mice from allergic airway disease. Journal Allergy Clinical Immunol 2012. 130:1394-403. I.F. 12.047.
- Nieuwenhuizen, N, Kirstein F, Jayakumar J, Emedi B, Hurdayal R, Horsnell WG, Lopata AL and Brombacher F. Allergic airway disease is unaffected by the absence of IL-4 receptor alpha dependent alternatively activated macrophages. J Allergy Clinical Immunol 2012. 130:743-50. I.F. 12.047.
- Hoving JC, Kirstein F, Nieuwenhuizen N, Fick LC, Hobeika E, Reth M, Brombacher F. B Cells that Produce Immunoglobulin E Mediate Colitis in BALB/c Mice. Gastroenterology 2012. 142(1):96-108.
- Horsnell WG, Vira, A, Kirstein F, Mearns H, Hoving JC, Cutler AJ, Dewals B, Myburgh E, Kimberg M, Arendse B, White N, Lopata AL, Burger PE, Brombacher f. IL-4Ralpha-responsive smooth muscle cells contribute to initiation of TH2 immunity and pulmonary pathology in Nippostrongylus brasiliensis infections. Mucosal Immunology 2011. 4:83-92. I.F. 7.000