In many autoimmune diseases, autoantibodies produced by the immune system drive organ pathology. However, the molecular mechanisms that lead these immune cells to attack their own body are not yet fully understood.
Taking immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) – a disease in which autoantibodies formed in the spleen destroy blood platelets – as an example, Henner Morbach from the University Hospital Würzburg wants to further decipher differentiation pathways of protective and pathogenic plasma cells. Together with Florian Erhard from the University of Würzburg, Harald Schulze and Armin Wiegering from the University Hospital Würzburg and Tamam Bakchoul from the University Hospital of Tübingen, he is investigating spleen samples from ITP patients at the single-cell level.
The project, which is based at the Single-Cell Center Würzburg, is expected to lead to a better understanding of these differentiation pathways. This could form the basis for new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.