Characterization of immunologic-inflammatory biomarkers of infections in patients with cystic fibrosis


Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) are highly succeptable for infections of the respiratory tract, which influence the disease course and morbidity significantly. A variety of pathogens are found in higher frequencys in patients with CF, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Other pathogens show lesser impact on clinical presentation but are capable of causing acute deterioration through colonization of pulmonary epithel.

There is a great need for biomarker indicating a deterioration of disease course needing therapeutical intervention. Direct molecular-biological or immunological detection methods – as described by our group for Mycobacterium abscessus infections recently [PMID: 25742660] – are important steps in order to improve the situation. Immunological markers indicating the need for therapeutic intervention independently of the form of infection would facilitate the physicians decision to perform further investigations.

T-cells are crucial effectors of immune response. An exhaustion of T-cells is a well described phenomenon in the context of cancer, immunologic diseases or infections. So far there has been one report on T-cell exhaustion in a patient with CF. It is assumed that T-cell exhaustion is caused by persistent antigen stimulation (e.g. chronic infections) and T-cell’s inaedequate supply of Interleukin-7.


- Characterization of concentrations of different humoral and cell-associated immune-marker in plasma and sputum/bronchoalveolar lavage of CF-patients with different disease course compared to controls

- Identification of plasma-biomarker for severity and disease course of pediatric patients with CF

- Characterization of cytokine genes and determination of frequency in CF-patient with different disease course

- Comparison of functional T-cell responses and expression of T-cell exhaustion markers

Staff members:

Dr. Laura Olbrich (MD)


The project is partly funded by „Stiftung zur Erforschung infektiös-immunologischer Erkrankungen“ (foundation of Heinrich-Heine University).

Investigators and cooperations:

The project is conducted by Dr. Laura Olbrich (MD, resident, Department of General Paediatrics, Neonatology and Paediatric Kardiology, University Hospital Düsseldorf). Cooperating partners are Dr. Dirk Schramm (MD, consultant, Department of General Paediatrics, Neonatology and Paediatric Kardiology, University Hospital Düsseldorf), further more the Westdeutsches Lungenzentrum (University Hospital Essen) and the Department of Paediatric Pneumology of the St.Josefs-Hospital (University Hospital Ruhr-University Bochum).

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