Combating fatigue in chronic inflammation
Macrophages as a target for the treatment of fatigue in chronic inflammatory disorders
In this project we will investigate the biological mechanisms contributing to the chronic fatigue experienced by patients suffering from chronic inflammatory disorders.
Extreme fatigue is a common feature of many chronic inflammatory disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Even after successful treatment of the primary organs many patients still experience excessive tiredness which impairs both their ability to work and their social interactions. In fact, patients report fatigue as the number one factor reducing their overall quality of life. Unfortunately, very little is known about the biology leading to this fatigue, leading to a lack of therapeutic options.
We do know that during chronic intestinal inflammation, macrophages in the gut are altered and that reversal of this phenomenon is important for currently used medication to be effective. It is also known that during short term infectious diseases activation of similar cells in the brain can result in fever, lack of appetite and general malaise. It is therefore likely that wrongful activation of these cells during chronic inflammation also plays a role in the development of fatigue. In this project we will study how these brain cells are influenced by chronic inflammatory diseases and how we can modulate these cells to reverse the resulting fatigue.