Prof. Dr. Diana Klein
The vessel wall, in particular, the vascular adventitia has been established as a niche for different types of stem and progenitor cells with the capacity to differentiate into both vascular and non-vascular cells. Herein vascular wall-resident multipotent stem cells of mesenchymal nature (VW-MSCs) have gained importance because of their large range of differentiation in combination with their distribution throughout the post-natal organism. Our group is investigating how these VW-MSCs contribute to the maintenance of organ integrity by their ability to replace defunct cells or secrete cytokines locally and thus support repair and healing processes of the affected tissues. In addition, we investigate the therapeutic application of VW-MSCs for improving vascular function or preventing vascular damage. In order to obtain the largest possible number of tissue-typical MSCs in vitro, which are then available for therapeutic applications (allogeneic transplants), we further work on VW-MSC specific transcription factors, which might be used for the in vitro differentiation of VW-MSCs from induced pluripotent stem cells and/or other somatic cells.