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Cell and molecular immunology


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infects and is carried by 70-100% of the world’s population, but rarely gives symptoms in the healthy population. In immunosuppressed patients, such as organ or stem cell transplant patients, AIDS patients and neonates, CMV may cause very serious disease and even death.

CMV disease in these groups of patients has also high-lightened the role of the virus in the development of other diseases, in particular for vascular diseases, autoimmune diseases and possibly in certain types of cancer. We have developed new sensitive techniques for detection of CMV infection in tissues from patients with various autoimmune diseases, vascular diseases and cancers. We can now detect an active CMV infection in affected organs in a majority of these patients but not in healthy tissue from the same patients or in tissues from control patients.

We know that CMV is able control different cellular and immunological functions and may thereby precipitate disease development. Antiviral treatment strategies may therefore become useful to cure or control a variety of different diseases. Hence, our long-term goals are to further develop an understanding of how CMV is specifically involved in the development of different diseases, and to find new targets for treatment strategies.


Research projects

The research in our laboratory is centered on mechanisms that regulate pain signaling, with a particular focus on exploring the role of autoantibodies, nerve growth factor (NGF) and pro/anti inflammatory factors in pain signal transmission in both peripheral and central nervous system. We are currently using several experimental pain models and clinical data/tissues from patient cohorts with the aim to pin point novel targets for the development of new pain therapeutics.


Selected publications

Söderberg-Nauclér C, Fornara O, Rahbar A. Cytomegalovirus driven immunosenescence -An immune phenotype with or without clinical impact? Mech Ageing Dev. 2016 Sep;158:3-13. Review.

Söderberg-Nauclér C. CMV and NK Cells: An Unhealthy Tryst? Cell Host Microbe. 2016 Mar 9;19(3):277-9. 

Yaiw KC, Mohammad AA, Costa H, Taher C, Badrnya S, Assinger A, Wilhelmi V, Ananthaseshan S, Estekizadeh A, Davoudi B, Ovchinnikova O, Shlyakhto E, Rafnsson A, Khan Z, Butler L, Rahbar A, Pernow J, Söderberg-Nauclér C. Human Cytomegalovirus Up-Regulates Endothelin Receptor Type B: Implication for Vasculopathies? Open Forum Infect Dis. 2015 Dec 24;2(4):ofv155.

Rahbar A, Cederarv M, Wolmer-Solberg N, Tammik C, Stragliotto G, Peredo I, Fornara O, Xu X, Dzabic M, Taher C, Skarman P, Söderberg-Nauclér C. Enhanced neutrophil activity is associated with shorter time to tumor progression in glioblastoma patients. Oncoimmunology. 2015 Aug 24;5(2):e1075693.

Fornara O, Odeberg J, Wolmer Solberg N, Tammik C, Skarman P, Peredo I, Stragliotto G, Rahbar A, Söderberg-Nauclér C. Poor survival in glioblastoma patients is associated with early signs of immunosenescence in the CD4 T-cell compartment after surgery. Oncoimmunology. 2015 Jun 5;4(9):e1036211.

Omarsdottir S, Casper C, Navér L, Legnevall L, Gustafsson F, Grillner L, Zweygberg-Wirgart B, Söderberg-Nauclér C, Vanpée M. Cytomegalovirus infection and neonatal outcome in extremely preterm infants after freezing of maternal milk. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2015 May;34(5):482-9. 

Rahbar A, Peredo I, Solberg NW, Taher C, Dzabic M, Xu X, Skarman P, Fornara O, Tammik C, Yaiw K, Wilhelmi V, Assinger A, Stragliotto G, Söderberg-Naucler C. Discordant humoral and cellular immune responses to Cytomegalovirus (CMV) in glioblastoma patients whose tumors are positive for CMV. Oncoimmunology. 2015 Feb 25;4(2):e982391.

Taher C, Frisk G, Fuentes S, Religa P, Costa H, Assinger A, Vetvik KK, Bukholm IR, Yaiw KC, Smedby KE, Bäcklund M, Söderberg-Naucler C, Rahbar A. High prevalence of human cytomegalovirus in brain metastases of patients with primary breast and colorectal cancers. Transl Oncol. 2014 Dec;7(6):732-40. 

Badrnya S, Schrottmaier WC, Kral JB, Yaiw KC, Volf I, Schabbauer G, Söderberg-Nauclér C, Assinger A. Platelets mediate oxidized low-density lipoprotein-induced monocyte extravasation and foam cell formation. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Mar;34(3):571-80. 

Söderberg-Nauclér C, Peredo I, Stragliotto G. Valganciclovir in patients with glioblastoma. N Engl J Med. 2013 Nov 21;369(21):2066-7. 

Wolmer-Solberg N, Baryawno N, Rahbar A, Fuchs D, Odeberg J, Taher C, Wilhelmi V, Milosevic J, Mohammad AA, Martinsson T, Sveinbjörnsson B, Johnsen JI, Kogner P, Söderberg-Nauclér C. Frequent detection of human cytomegalovirus in neuroblastoma: a novel therapeutic target? Int J Cancer. 2013 Nov 15;133(10):2351-61. 

Assinger A, Yaiw KC, Göttesdorfer I, Leib-Mösch C, Söderberg-Nauclér C. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) induces human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) transcription.  Retrovirology. 2013 Nov 12;10:132. 

Stragliotto G, Rahbar A, Solberg NW, Lilja A, Taher C, Orrego A, Bjurman B, Tammik C, Skarman P, Peredo I, Söderberg-Nauclér C. Effects of valganciclovir as an add-on therapy in patients with cytomegalovirus-positive glioblastoma: a randomized, double-blind, hypothesis-generating study.  Int J Cancer. 2013 Sep 1;133(5):1204-13.

Rahbar A, Orrego A, Peredo I, Dzabic M, Wolmer-Solberg N, Strååt K, Stragliotto G, Söderberg-Nauclér C. Human cytomegalovirus infection levels in glioblastoma multiforme are of prognostic value for survival. J Clin Virol. 2013 May;57(1):36-42. 

Taher C, de Boniface J, Mohammad AA, Religa P, Hartman J, Yaiw KC, Frisell J, Rahbar A, Söderberg-Naucler C. High prevalence of human cytomegalovirus proteins and nucleic acids in primary breast cancer and metastatic sentinel lymph nodes.  PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56795. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056795.

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