Medical Biochemistry and Immunology Lab (MBIL)

'Lipid metabolism in control of immune and glial cell function in health and disease'

Innate immunity
Lipid metabolism
CNS repair

+32 (11) 26 92 61


Research focus

Recent advances in lipidomics and metabolomics have unveiled the complexity of lipid metabolism and in health and disease. Accordingly, a growing body of evidence indicates that imbalances in the metabolism and level of fatty acids and cholesterol drive the initiation and progression of autoinflammatory, autoimmune, and neurological disorders. In our research group, we study disease-associated changes in cholesterol and fatty metabolism in immune and glial cells, and identify how these changes can be exploited to suppress pathogenic immune responses and promote repair processes in the central peripheral nervous system. Specifically, we aim to:

  • Identify how phospholipid synthesis and uptake impacts glial cells physiology in central and peripheral nervous system disorders.

  • Elucidate if enhancing ABCA1-mediated cholesterol efflux prevents the formation of disease-promoting foamy phagocyte subsets.

  • Unravel if S-palmitoylation, a post-translational modification that involves the binding of palmitate to proteins, affects immune cell function, autoimmunity, and remyelination.

  • Define whether perturbed cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism affects innate immune cell physiology in autoinflammatory disorders.

Core techniques/models

  • In vivo models for neuroinflammation, demyelination, and CNS repair

  • Ex vivo models for demyelination and remyelination

  • In vitro models for immune and glial cell function

  • Molecular tools to study immune cell function and differentiation in vitro and in vivo

  • Molecular tools to study cellular lipid metabolism and protein acetylation

  • Analysis pipeline for RNAseq and lipidomics data

Team members

Sam Vanherle
Sam studies the impact of lipoprotein mimetic peptides, extracellular vesicles, and phospholipid metabolism on autoimmunity and remyelination.

Jeroen Guns
Jeroen studies if and how S-palmitoylation affects immune cell function, autoimmunity, and CNS repair.

Flore Wouters
Flore studies whether cholesterol and fatty metabolism can be exploited to attenuate inflammasome activation in autoinflammatory disorders.

Koen Kuipers 
Koen studies metabolic disturbances in peripheral neuropathies.

Key publications

Full publication list: Google scholar

Key publications:

  1. The ApoA-I mimetic peptide 5A enhances remyelination by promoting clearance and degradation of myelin debris.
    Sam Vanherle, Winde Jorissen, Tess Dierckx, Melanie Loix, Elien Grajchen, Fleur Mingneau, Jeroen Guns, Pascal Gervois, Ivo Lambrichts, Jonas Dehairs, Johannes V. Swinnen, Monique T. Mulder, Alan T. Remaley, Mansour Haidar, Jerome J.A. Hendriks, Jeroen J.F. Bogie. Cell reports (2022)

  2. Liver X receptor beta deficiency attenuates autoimmune-associated neuroinflammation in a T cell-dependent manner.
    Bogie JFJ, Vanmierlo T, Vanmol J, Timmermans S, Mailleux J, Nelissen K, Wijnands E, Wouters K, Stinissen P, Gustafsson JÅ, Steffensen KR, Mulder M, Zelcer N, Hendriks JJA. Liver X receptor beta deficiency attenuates autoimmune-associated neuroinflammation in a T cell-dependent manner. Journal of Autoimmunity. 2021 Nov;124:10272

  3. Targeting lipophagy in macrophages improves repair in multiple sclerosis.
    Mansour Haidar, Melanie Loix, Sam Vanherle, Tess Dierckx, Tim Vangansewinkel, Pascal Gervois, Esther Wolfs, Ivo Lambrichts, Jeroen F.J Bogie, Jerome J.A Hendriks. Autophagy. 2022 Mar 14;1-14.

  4. SCD1 impairs the reparative properties of macrophages and microglia in the central nervous system.
    Bogie JFJ, Elien Grajchen, Elien Wouters, Aida Garcia Corrales, Tess Dierckx, Sam Vanherle, Jo Mailleux, Pascal Gervois, Esther Wolfs, Jonas Dehairs, Jana Van Broeckhoven, Andrew Bowman, Ivo Lambrichts, Jan-Ake Gustafsson, Alan T. Remaley, Monique Mulder, Johannes V. Swinnen, Mansour Haidar, Shane R. Ellis, James M. Ntambi, Noam Zelcer, Jerome J.A. Hendriks. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2020 May 4;217(5).

  5. Fatty acid metabolism in the progression and resolution of CNS disorders.
    Bogie JFJ, Mansour Haidar, Gijs Kooij, Jerome J.A. Hendriks. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. 2020 Jan 25. pii: S0169-409X(20)30006-5.