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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There is growing evidence that immune cells, mesenchymal stromal cells and other progenitor cells are sensitive to metabolic reprogramming and that the cells’ metabolic requirements affect additional cellular functions beyond the request for energy provision. Prominent examples are nutrient sensitive modifications of transcriptional active proteins, such as acetylation or glycosylation, which depend on the availability of metabolic pathway intermediates. Thus, the linkage of metabolic and signaling pathways allows cells to modulate actions as metabolism, proliferation, activity and differentiation according to their metabolic resources and the local milieu.
Although knowledge exists on how the overall body metabolism changes during tissue repair processes, it is widely unknown how local energetic changes and related metabolic reprogramming of cellular signaling pathways and functions affect tissue regeneration. Thus, in this project we investigate metabolic alterations that contribute to the development of bone non-union.