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Retinal Immunity

Our group aims at understanding the molecular events leading to microglial activation and microgliosis in inherited retinal degeneration.

We are using microglia-specific reporter mice and several mouse models of retinal degeneration to define distinct phenotypes of activated microglia. We envision a microglia-targeted neuroprotective therapy by converting neurotoxic microglial populations into homeostatic cells. Immunomodulatory bioactive compounds including the Omega-3-fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Luteolin are currently tested for their microglia-deactivating potential.

In a collaboration with Carlo Rivolta (Lausanne)and Andreas Gal (Hamburg) we have recently identified nonsense mutations in the FAM161A gene leading to autosomal recessive Retinitis Pigmentosa. A major task for the future will be to characterize the biological functions of FAM161A and to define the molecular events leading to retinal degeneration in the absence of FAM161A.

We are further interested to define the cis-regulatory architecture of photoreceptors as a basis for retina-specific gene expression. Together with Joseph Corbo (St. Louis) we characterize the transcriptional network orchestrated by the transcription factor CRX (Cone-rod homeobox).

Group Leader

Thomas Langmann
[more information]


University of Regensburg

Institute of Human Genetics
Franz-Josef-Strauss Allee 11
93053 Regensburg

Phone: +49 (0) 941-944-5423
Fax: +49 (0) 941-944-5402




  • Microglia reporter and retinal degeneration mice
  • In situ and ex vivo analyses, retinal explants, cell cultures
  • Immune-based methods and molecular genetics

Scientific Cooperations

  • Cooperation 1
    Prof. Joseph Corbo (St. Louis)
  • Cooperation 2
    Prof. Rudolf Martini (Würzburg)
  • Cooperation 3
    Prof. David Hume (Edinburgh)
  • Cooperation 4
    Prof. Anand Swaroop (NIH, NEI)
  • Cooperation 5
    Prof. Robin Ali, Dr. Ulrich Luhmann (London)

Current Research Projects

  • Project 1
    Microglial activation in retinal degeneration
  • Project 2
    Role of FAM161A in photoreceptor function and disease
  • Project 3
    Crx-directed cis-regulatory architecture of photoreceptors

Research Groups