Pathobiology of the Intestinal Mucosa
The intestinal mucosa is the largest exposed surface of the macro-organism. It is the interface of the intestinal organ system and is a sensitive seismograph for external (infectious) and internal (immunological) disturbances to which it is exposed and which can seriously impair its physiological functions (uptake and excretion). Of these unresolved questions and problems, three major areas of research are initiated at the Hannover Medical School (Medizinische Hochschule Hannover), the School of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (Tierärztliche Hochschule) and German Research Centre for Biotechnology (Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung) in Braunschweig.
There is still much unknown about postnatal interference and adaptation of the normal bacterial flora to the innate immune system at the border layer of the intestinal mucosa and the ensuing, normally lifelong peaceful coexistence in which micro- and macro-organism show mutual respect. The collaborative research centre intends to focus on the E. coli strain Nissle 1917 as the central probiotic agent in various individual projects and animal models, to manipulate this strain genetically and to determine the complete genome sequence in order to explain its probiotic effects. Another interdisciplinary theme closely involved in the probiotic approach is the Gnotobiotic Central Project Z1. The use of gnotobiotic and subsequently intentionally infected knock-out mouse strains will be of great importance for the analysis of the influence of the intestinal flora on the development, perpetuation and therapy of IBD.