Osteoimmunology

Dr. rer. nat. Katharina Schmidt-Bleek

Our group fosters research about the interaction of the skeletal and immune system during bone healing. Immune and bone cells share common precursor cells, from which they develop in the bone marrow. Both cellular subsets are highly interconnected on both, the cellular and molecular level.

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Interconnectivity between the immune and skeletal system

The bone marrow is the place where cells of both systems, the immune and the bone system, develop: osteoblasts, osteoclasts, granulocytes, monocytes, macrophages, natural killer cells, dendritic cells and lymphocytes. Dependent on certain stimuli, myeloid precursor cells can differentiate into either macrophages or osteoclasts: Both are phagocytic cells of the immune and bone system, respectively. Osteoclasts are responsible for the resorption of bony material. The growing importance of analysis of the impact of the immune system during bone homeostasis and bone regeneration led to the introduction of the research field “osteoimmunology” at the beginning of 21th century.