Our research work is centered around the idea that endogenous anti-inflammatory pathways exist that can be targeted therapeutically. Particularly in the perioperative field, exploiting such pathways could yield novel therapeutic approaches to medical conditions such as liver failure, renal ischemia, acute lung injury or myocardial infarction. Inspired by studies of ambient hypoxia, demonstrating that hypoxia drives increases in extracellular adenosine generation and signaling, we are utilizing genetic and pharmacological approaches to study adenosine signaling events.
From an immunological point of view, such studies revealed that activation of adenosine signaling pathways results in attenuated inflammation and improved tissue adaptation to limited oxygen availability. Other studies from our laboratory have pointed towards alternative mechanisms of adenosine receptor activation (e.g. by other endogenous compounds than nucleosides). Current challenges involve the definition of tissue specific contributions of these responses (e.g. endothelial, epithelial or myeloid signaling events) as well as the translation of our basic findings into the treatment of human disease.