Lena Holm

Gastro-intestinal protection mechanisms studied in vivo

During homeostasis, the colonic mucus successfully separates the vast luminal microbiota from the single epithelial cell layer and resident immune cells of the mucosa. When this barrier fails, colitis is established. Our research focuses on the interplay between the commensal microbiota, administered probiotics and the colonic mucosal barrier in health and during colitis, with special emphasis on the underlying mechanisms of colitis induction and probiotic protection. We have developed an animal model allowing direct access to the colonic mucosa with intravital microscopy, and the majority of our experiments include in vivo studies of the mucus layers (Fig. 1), epithelium, immune cells and blood flow. During the last years we have extensively increased our possibilities to perform high-resolution

Fig 1. The mucus layers in different parts
of the GI tract.

longitudinal in vivo studies of interactions of the microbiota/probiotics/mucus with the epithelium and immune cells in real-time by adapting our in vivo model to high-speed confocal microscopy available in our lab.

Ongoing Projects...

For further information about this research group please contact Professor Lena Holm