A Priority Programme of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


  • Privatdozent Dr. Andreas Frey
    Laborgruppe Mukosaimmunologie
    Forschungszentrum Borstel - Zentrum für Medizin und Biowissenschaften (FZB)
  • Professor Dr. Andreas Gebert
    Institut für Anatomie
    Medizinische Fakultät
    Universität zu Lübeck
  • Dr. Gereon Hüttmann
    Institut für Biomedizinische Optik
    Technisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
    Universität zu Lübeck
  • Professor Dr. Horst Weller
    Institut für Physikalische Chemie
    Department Chemie
    Universität Hamburg
1 Phase 1: until Decembre 2010
2 Phase 2: since January 2011

How particles enter the body: investigating particle-barrier interactions in the Digestive Tract

The intestinal barrier is one of the key sites at which we come into contact with foreign matter, and the intestinal epithelium has the delicate task to efficiently absorb vital but reliably reject harmful exogenous materials. Yet, little is known about how the intestinal boundary deals with anthropogenic particulate matter that is small enough to progress to the epithelial interface. In our project, we want to investigate the interactions of nanoscale particles (NPs) with the different components of the small intestinal mucosa, identify pathways along which NPs enter the mucosa, and quantify the total uptake of NPs into the body. Using synthetic NPs composed of optically detectable cores and various chemically defined surface properties, we will employ advanced biochemical and optical methods to elucidate interactions of these NPs with intestinal juice, the pre-epithelial mucus layer, the cell types of the epithelium and the sub-epithelial tissue. Our project combines in-vitro biochemical and cell culture studies with a novel invivo animal model in which multi-dimensional two-photon microscopy allows individual NPs to be localized in large tissue volumes at a sub-micron resolution over hours. To additionally investigate paracellular routes of NP entry, mucosal lesions will be set experimentally. The results of our investigations will help to estimate the probability of uptake and to predict the fate of synthetic particles that may come into contact with the human body in technical, pharmaceutical or diagnostic applications of NPs.