Inflammation is caused by immune reactions, pathogens, toxins, chemical irritants, ionizing radiation, foreign bodies, burns, frostbite or trauma. An inflammatory immune response can be protective by eliminating the initial cause of cell injury and by initiating repair processes and wound healing. Inflammation is normally self-limited but can also be harmful for example in many human diseases, including autoimmune diseases, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's Disease, allergic reactions and stroke. Thus, advanced imaging modalities such as PET/CT, PET/MRI and OI allow us to non-invasively follow disease progression and to confirm successful anti-inflammatory treatment in vivo, enabling individualized patient orientated therapies. The aim of our research is to gain deeper insights into the pathophysiology of different inflammatory immune responses in experimental models of human diseases.
Understanding the pro-inflammatory mediators, the homing patterns of inflammatory cells and the temporal expression-dynamics of hypoxia in a preclinical setup will help us to uncover the “window of opportunity” for therapeutic interventions as well as new treatment strategies for individual patients. Especially the early detection of inflammatory immune responses is of high importance to enable early treatment strategies to prevent irreversible destructions.