Klaus Goerttler Session

Thursday, September 29th, 2022, at 3:00 pm

Chair: Janine Kemming

In this year’s Klaus-Goerttler session Bertram Bengsch from Freiburg and Asbjørn Christophersen from Oslo will share some of their exciting data on CD8+ T cell phenotyping in the context of autoimmunity and infectious diseases using diverse flow and mass cytometry techniques. Also this year’s winner of the Klaus-Goerttler award will be revealed! Make sure to join for this session full of cutting-edge research carried out using state-of-the-art cytometry techniques!

Asbjørn Christophersen

A similar T-cell subset is increased across multiple autoimmune conditions and contains the antigen-specific cells in celiac disease

Department of Molecular Medicine, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital and Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

Celiac disease (CeD) is a chronic disorder with autoimmune properties that is driven by oral gluten exposure. HLA-restricted T cells specific to gluten are key players in the pathogenesis and can be found in gut and blood of CeD patients, but not in controls. We have studied gluten-specific T cells under different clinical conditions aiming to find novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic targets. For this purpose, we have combined RNA sequencing, T-cell receptor sequencing and mass and multi-parameter flow cytometry with HLA-class II tetramer technology.
We find that gluten-specific T cells have a distinct phenotype and metabolic characteristics in gut and blood in untreated disease. However, when removing or later re-introducing gluten in the diet, we detect instant phenotypic changes in these disease-specific cells. Importantly, detection of T cells with this distinct phenotype accurately identifies patients with CeD and healthy controls. Furthermore, their metabolic and phenotypic properties may be targeted for therapeutic purposes.
Interestingly, we and other research groups find T cells phenotypically similar to gluten-specific cells increased also in autoimmune conditions such as in rheumatoid arthritis, type-1 diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis. Thus, T cells with this phenotype may be targeted for better treatment and diagnosis of CeD and potentially other autoimmune conditions alike. As the disease-driving antigen recognized by CD4+ T cells for most autoimmune diseases remains elusive, the T-cell receptor repertoire of cells with this phenotype may be used to reveal epitope specificity.  

Asbjørn Christophersen obtained his MD from the University of Tübingen and his PhD in immunology in the lab of Ludvig M. Sollid at the University of Oslo. He is a medical doctor at Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital and Oslo University Hospital. In his postdoc in Oslo and in the lab of Mark M. Davis at Stanford University, he focused his research at disease-specific T cells in celiac disease. He developed novel techniques for combination of peptide-HLA-class II tetramer technology with flow and mass cytometry and studied T-cell receptor repertoires. Based on both his research interest in T cells in autoimmune conditions and clinical focus on rheumatic disorders, he is starting out as associate professor at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences at the University of Oslo in autumn 2022.

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Bengsch Lab Clinic for Internal Medicine II, University Medical Center Freiburg


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