Prof. Marie-Charlotte Brüggen


Subcutaneous adipose tissue immunology

What we investigate

Our laboratory investigates immunological functions and processes based in subcutaneous adipose tissue and the way these may impact the dermal and epidermal processes under homeostatic and pathological conditions.

Our research in more detail

The immunological functions of subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in the context of skin-based or systemic inflammation is poorly understood. Therefore, a better understanding of the immunological SAT “reservoir” in humans under homeostatic or inflammatory conditions is warranted.

Our studies include a characterization and functional exploration of the cellular and molecular immune players in SAT. We use novel methodologies for spatial phenotyping of skin tissue at the single cell level. To investigate the specific antigens and signaling pathways in SAT, we aim to develop a full thickness skin model consisting of SAT, dermis and epidermis for studying cell-cell interactions and molecular mechanisms.

Panniculitis is an ideal model for us to understand the mechansims in SAT inflammation. We are currently investigating the immune cell infiltrates in panniculitis (inflammation of adipose tissue) to gain new insights into its underlying pathomechanisms. A central aspect in exploring this is to understand antigen-presentation in SAT including the type of antigen-presenting cells involved and the nature of antigens presented.

In terms of therapeutic targeting of SAT inflammation, we are currently developing epigenetic switches for programmable control of inflammation in collaboration with Kyoto university.

Selected publications

SKINTEGRITY.CH Principal Investigators are underlined:

  • Mitamura Y, Schulz D, Oro S, Li N, Kolm I, Lang CV, Ziadlou R, Tan G, Bodenmiller B, Steiger P, Marzano A, Prost N de, Caudin O, Levesque M, Stoffel C, Schmid-Grendelmeier P, Maverakis E, Akdis CA and Brüggen MC* (2021). Cutaneous and systemic hyperinflammation drives maculopapular drug exanthema in severely ill COVID-19 patients. Allergy, 2021;00:1-14.

  • Lang C, Masenga J, Semango G, Kaderbai H, Tan G, Heider A, Li N, Guttman-Yassky E, Grimm F, Schmid-Grendelmeier P and Brüggen MC*. Evidence for different immune signatures and sensitization patterns in sub-Saharan versus central European Atopic Dermatitis patients. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol, in press.

  • Brüggen MC*, Strobl J, Naito R, Koszik F, Stary G, Verhapper M, Kiprov H, French LE and Stingl G (2019). Human subcutaneous white adipose tissue harbors a leukocyte compartment distinct from skin and blood. J Invest Dermatol. 139(9):2052-2055.e7.