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New DFG project "4D Imaging"
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The DFG Schwerpunktprogramm „Das Digitale Bild“ (SPP 2172) funds the new project “4D Imaging: From Image Theory to Imaging Practice” (2023-2026). Principal investigators are Prof. Dr. Kathrin Friedrich (Universita╠łt Bonn) and Prof. Dr. Moritz Queisner.

The term 4D imaging refers to a new form of digital visuality in which image, action and space are inextricably interwoven. 4D technologies capture, process and transmit information about physical space and make it computable in real time. Changes due to movements and actions become calculable in real time, making 4D images particularly important in aesthetic and operational contexts where they reconceptualize various forms of human-computer interaction. The 4D Imaging project responds to the growing need in medicine to understand, use, and design these complex imaging techniques. It transfers critical reflexive knowledge from research into clinical practices to enable surgeons to use and apply 4D Imaging techniques. Especially in surgical planning, 4D Imaging techniques may improve the understanding and accessibility of spatially complex anatomical structures. To this end, the project is developing approaches to how 4D imaging can complement and transform established topographic ("2D") imaging practices.

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Our manuscript "Depletion of donor dendritic cells ameliorates immunogenicity of both skin and hind limb transplants" has been accepted for publication in Frontiers in Immunology, section Alloimmunity and Transplantation. Authors are Muhammad Imtiaz Ashraf, Joerg Mengwasser, Anja Reutzel-Selke, Dietrich Polenz, Kirsten Führer, Steffen Lippert, Peter Tang, Edward Michaelis, Rusan Catar, Johann Pratschke, Christian Witzel, Igor M. Sauer, Stefan G. Tullius, and Barbara Kern.

Acute cellular rejection remains a significant obstacle affecting successful outcomes of organ transplantation including vascularized composite tissue allografts (VCA). Donor antigen presenting cells (APC), particularly dendritic cells (DC), orchestrate early alloimmune responses by activating recipient effector T cells. Employing a targeted approach, we investigated the impact of donor-derived conventional DC (cDC) and APC on the immunogenicity of skin and skin-containing VCA grafts, using mouse models of skin and hind limb transplantation.
By post-transplantation day 6, skin grafts demonstrated severe rejections, characterized by predominance of recipient CD4 T cells. In contrast, hind limb grafts showed moderate rejection, primarily infiltrated by CD8 T cells. While donor depletion of cDC and APC reduced frequencies, maturation, and activation of DC in all analysed tissues of skin transplant recipients, reduction in DC activities was only observed in the spleen of hind limb recipients. Donor cDC and APC depletion did not impact all lymphocyte compartments but significantly affected CD8 T cells and activated CD4 T in lymph nodes of skin recipients. Moreover, both donor APC and cDC depletion attenuated the Th17 immune response, evident by significantly reduced Th17 (CD4+IL-17+) cells in the spleen of skin recipients and reduced levels of IL-17E and lymphotoxin-α in the serum samples of both skin and hind limb recipients. In conclusion, our findings underscore the highly immunogenic nature of skin component in VCA. The depletion of donor APC and cDC mitigates the immunogenicity of skin grafts while exerting minimal impact on VCA.

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