Inflammation in Aging-Associated Diseases

Chronic inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of aging-associated diseases. Cells covering the surface of tissues such as the skin, lungs and intestines are constantly challenged by a wide range of environmental factors such as UV rays, particulate matter, chemicals as well as microbes. These stressors can damage cells and cause tissue injury that requires repair.

Cellular damage induces inflammation, which promotes tissue repair and guards against invading microbes. After successful regeneration, the inflammatory reaction needs to be terminated to establish normal tissue homeostasis.

Failure to properly regulate this response may result in uncontrolled chronic inflammation, which causes tissue damage and can result in severe diseases including chronic wounds, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, hepatitis, and cancer.

CECAD studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms that cause chronic inflammation and its role in disease pathogenesis. CECAD researchers use state-of-the-art methods and a wide range of model organisms to study the molecules and pathways that regulate inflammation and contribute to disease.

Research Area E focuses on exploring:

  • The role of inflammation on epithelial tissue homeostasis, degeneration and regeneration
  • DNA damage-induced inflammation and its role on tissue homeostasis and aging
  • The mechanisms that link inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, the onset of neurodegenerative illnesses and metabolic stress
  • The role of the microenvironment in carcinogenesis

CECAD scientists aim to decode the mechanisms that link cellular stress reactions to aging-associated diseases. This could contribute to the development of novel therapeutical approaches for these illnesses.


Prof. Dr. Thomas Krieg
Principal Investigator, University Hospital of Cologne
 +49 221 478 4500

Institut für Dermatologie und Venerologie
Uniklinik Köln
Kerpener Str. 62
50937 Köln


Prof. Dr. Manolis Pasparakis
Head of Research Area 3, Principal Investigator, Institute for Genetics
 +49 221 478 84351

Institut für Genetik
CECAD Forschungszentrum
Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 26

50931 Köln


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Figure 1: Chronic inflammation in the gut predisposes to tumor development. Here tumor cells appear intensive green and tightly packed.

Figure 2: The intact ephitelial lining of the gastroin-testinal tract restrains symbiotic bacteria to the lumen. There they importantly contributes to efficient utilization of nutrition.

Figure 3: Transverse section through a blood vessel: Inflammatory plaques (yellow and green) at blood vessel walls prevent regular blood flow and can result in vascular occlusion.

Figure 4: Macrophages (immune cells) in brown among liver cells.

Figure 5: Skin, intestinal epithelium and lung epithelium are surfaces acting as barriers to the outside world. Here the body comes in contact with stressors such as chemicals, germ and UV-light.