Inhaltspezifische Aktionen

Viszerale Neurobiologie

Visceral neurobiology


The essential role of the lung and gastrointestinal tract for the body and the immense socio-economic importance of the diseases of these organs need no further explanation. Less known, but of immense burden to the affected patients, is that more than 10% of the population suffers from lower urinary tract disorders related to nervous control, resulting in urge and/or incontinence.

Airways, lung, the gastrointestinal tract and urinary bladder are under prominent control by the autonomic and sensory nervous system. Besides their widely known effects on airflow resistance, gastrointestinal motility and micturition, these nerve fibres also influence allergic and inflammatory responses.

A prerequisite for a meaningful regulation of all these functions are adequate sensor systems, which continuously monitor the environmental conditions to which these organs are exposed. These include a family of specialized epithelial sentinel cells, which survey the lining fluid at the surface for potential hazardous content, particularly products of microbial origin. Upon stimulation, these cells both inform the nervous system to initiate protective reflexes that might help to eliminate the intruder, and they activate immune responses.
Research projects of our group address both these sensory systems and the efferent local and autonomic pathways controlling the function of these the peripheral organs.

We are associated to:

  • DZL: Deutsches Zentrum für Lungenforschung (German Center for Lung Research)
  • CPI: Excellence Cluster 2026 Cardio-Pulmonary Institute
  • SFB-TR84: Innate Immunity of the Lung
  • UGMLC: Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Centre
  • MBML: Molecular Biology and Medicine of the Lung
  • IMPRES-MOB: International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Organ Biology


We coordinated:

  • NNCS: LOEWE Research Focus Non-Neuronal Cholinergic Systems (2012-2015)
  • Yokochi Fund (January 1999-March 2019)