Grants awarded

Environmental influences on intestinal homeostasis and inflammation

Grantholder:

Dr Brigitta Stockinger

The Francis Crick Institute

United Kingdom

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is an environmental sensor that responds to environmental pollutants such as dioxin or to endogenous, non-toxic ligands. We want to study the mechanisms of how environmental triggers influence infections, inflammation and the development of cancer, particularly in the gut where AhR is highly expressed.

We will discover what genes and pathways are affected by AhR in intestinal epithelium, where the absence of AhR or its inadequate activation leads to a higher susceptibility to intestinal infections and inflammation-induced cancer. Some of our data indicate that dietary AhR ligands from vegetable sources can improve inflammatory disorders and we will study the underlying mechanism of this in mouse models as well as in cultured gut cells from humans.

This study will help us to understand the underlying mechanisms behind inflammatory disorders and inflammation-induced cancer.