The research group "Cell Biology" investigates the biology of adult stem cells, immune cells, endothelial precursors and fibroblasts as well as their possible role in musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. We are looking at the interaction between cells, mechanics and the extracellular matrix. Furthermore, we are concentrating on alterations of intrinsic cell functions in response to extrinsic stimuli, such as age or an altered immune response. Our long-term goal is to develop new therapeutic approaches to improve musculoskeletal tissue regeneration, especially for impaired healing cases.
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The formation of new blood vessels and the tight regulation of inflammation are essential during the initial phase of bone healing. Disturbances of the early healing cascade can result in delayed healing or non-union of fractures.
Within this project different peripheral blood cell populations were considered and analyzed for their ability to counterbalance exaggerated inflammation and to locally support angiogenesis at the fracture site. Concentrating on the versatile CD31+ cell population that contains a mixture of cells (e.g. monocytes, naïve B- and T-cells, endothelial precursors) with diverse regenerative properties, we are now developing a cell therapeutic approach that can be applied within the operation theater during initial fracture treatment.