The German research institute has established a basis platform of cells and ex vivo tissues to analyse the upregulation of specific connexin hemichannels induced by the inflammation-initiators and inflammation-mediators. With this system it is possible to analyse the upregulation of connexin hemichannels in cells of different tissues. This platform can be used to develop connexin hemichannel inhibitors as drugs for treatment of chronic inflammation-related diseases such as morbus Crohn or colitis in the intestine as well as cystic fibrosis (CFTR), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma in the airway, various neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer or multiple sclerosis and other impairments like age-related muscle degeneration.
The research institute has a long expertise in connexin physiology in various tissues such as the vascular system. Moreover the research institute has recently implemented a culture of epithelial cells on porous membranes in transwell systems. The culture allowed the cell to form a good barrier and to consider the polarized expression of the receptors and the resulting effect on the connexin channels. Moreover the system should also be used to introduce other cells in a co-culture system allowing the simulation of the in vivo situation. Co-cultures and ex vivo tissue models can be used to evaluate the role of identified mediators and connexins in the inflammation related impairments.
Based on the current results and analysed cell systems, the involvement of Cx hemichannels should be characterized in the cellular response to bacterial toxins and markers, the so called inflammation initiators, as well as the inflammation mediators, such as cytokines or metabolites like nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, nucleotides and oligonucleotides.
The research institute is looking for chemical laboratories and pharmacological companies, which provide connexin hemichannel inhibitors to be tested with the developed cell and ex vivo model system. Possible types of partnership include but are not limited to a joint venture agreement, a research cooperation agreement or a technical cooperation agreement.