M.B.M. Teunissen PhD

Assistant Professor
Main activities
Education, Research
Immunology, Dermatology
Focus of research
A properly functioning skin immune system is essential to protect this large organ from pathogen entry and tumor cell outgrowth. Many skin diseases are characterized by dysregulation of the immune response. My goal is to understand the mechanisms of the innate and adaptive immune responses in the skin in order to explain the immunopathology of inflammatory skin disorders, such as psoriasis. To this aim both clinical and basic research is performed, using skin specimens from patients and healthy volunteers.

One of the research lines focuses on cutaneous dendritic cells: epidermal Langerhans cells and dermal dendritic cell subsets. These cells are isolated from human skin specimens or generated from monocytes using special cocktails of cytokines. Dendritic cells activate T cells and regulate their effector-function via a complex array of co-stimulatory and polarizing signals. These signals expressed by dendritic cells are quite flexible and dependent on micro-environmental circumstances. The aim is to determine the phenotypical and functional characteristics of these dendritic cell subsets and to understand how these properties can manipulated. With this knowledge it may be possible to render dendritic cells suitable as vaccine-based adjuvants, for instance to establish or break tolerance.

Another line of research focuses on the pathogenesis of psoriasis and encompasses the determination of the number, distribution, and state of activation of different cell types, as well as the presence of inflammatory mediators in lesional skin. In addition, cells (e.g. T cells, dendritic cells) are isolated from psoriatic lesional skin to study their function in order to determine abbarations as compared to their counterparts in healthy skin. Better understanding of the inflammatory processes involved in the development of psoriasis may lead to the identification of new drug targets to treat this disease.
Key publications
  • Teunissen M. B. M., Haniffa M., Collin M. P. Insight into the immunobiology of human skin and functional specialization of skin dendritic cell subsets to innovate intradermal vaccination design Current topics in microbiology and immunology 2012;351:25-76 [PubMed]
  • Schneider Laura P., Schoonderwoerd Antoinet J., Moutaftsi Magdalini, Howard Randall F., Reed Steven G., de Jong Esther C., Teunissen Marcel B. M. Intradermally administered TLR4 agonist GLA-SE enhances the capacity of human skin DCs to activate T cells and promotes emigration of Langerhans cells Vaccine 2012;30 (28):4216-4224 [PubMed]
  • van der Aar Angelic M. G., Picavet Daisy I., Muller Femke J., de Boer Leonie, van Capel Toni M. M., Zaat Sebastian A. J., Bos Jan D., Janssen Hans, George Thaddeus C., Kapsenberg Martien L., van Ham S. Marieke, Teunissen Marcel B. M., de Jong Esther C. Langerhans cells favor skin flora tolerance through limited presentation of bacterial antigens and induction of regulatory T cells Journal of investigative dermatology 2013;133 (5):1240-1249 [PubMed]
  • Res Pieter C. M., Piskin Gamze, de Boer Onno J., van der Loos Chris M., Teeling Peter, Bos Jan D., Teunissen Marcel B. M. Overrepresentation of IL-17A and IL-22 Producing CD8 T Cells in Lesional Skin Suggests Their Involvement in the Pathogenesis of Psoriasis PLoS ONE 2010;5 (11):e14108 [PubMed]
  • Teunissen Marcel B. M., Zheng Ling, de Groot Marjan, de Rie Menno A., Fine Jay S., Chen Shu-Cheng Rise in dermal CD11c(+) dendritic cells associates with early-stage development of psoriatic lesions Archives of dermatological research 2012;304 (6):443-449 [PubMed]
All Publications