Ideally, tissue injury gets resolved quickly and effectively; wound healing and repair succeed the acute inflammatory phase and tissue function is restored. However, the outcome after tissue injury is dependent on multiple factors including the tissue location, the internal milieu of the host such as reno-cardiovascular disease and age. When the response to injury is maladaptive, the inflammatory phase persists and fibrosis ensues. Yet extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition in wound repair may also be advantageous; it is a fast substitute for tissue regeneration. In most adult tissues, where regeneration is limited, ECM production by tissue resident or circulation-derived cells restores and maintains tissue integrity. Researchers have been trying to guide wound repair, focusing on swiftly transgressing the inflammatory phase, hereby preventing fibrotic scar formation. However, up to this point, it remains unclear if and how systemically circulating cells contribute to local damage and healing.
Merle’s PhD project focuses on the question how reno-cardiovascular disease influences inflammatory, fibrotic and regenerative processes. Specific attention is given to monocytes and the correlation between macrophage subtypes and functional outcome under pathological conditions. Merle will continue her postdoctoral study under MDR to gain more insight in the interplay between inflammation, regeneration and fibrosis in reno-cardiovascular disease.