Mattias Forsell's research

Humoral immunity in health and disease

The humoral immune system is a key player for host defense via the rapid production of antibodies during microbial infection. However, faulty regulation of the same system can instead give rise to severe disease. Investigations to further our understanding of regulatory mechanisms for activation of humoral immunity are therefore warranted, and may lead to new or improved treatment regimens for a large number of diseases.

Our group is focused on understanding the underlying processes that regulate B cell activation, and how these are directly or indirectly affected by primary hemostasis.


How is the immune response to protein antigens regulated on an epitope-specific basis?

During an antiviral immune response, individual B cell clones respond to non-overlapping epitopes on the surface of virally derived protein antigens. We here use recombinant HIV-1 Envelope glycoproteins to decipher basic processes for how B cell responses to non-overlapping regions of the HIV-1 Envelope glycoproteins are regulated, and if these responses can be modulated for improved vaccine-mediated antibody elicitation.

Why do platelets carry and release antibodies upon activation?

Resting platelets contain antibodies of the IgG subtype that are released upon activation. By studying murine and human platelets and platelet-producing megakaryocytes in the context of humoral immunity, we here investigate the biological significance of platelet-mediated release of IgG during inflammation and infection. The aim is to understand if modulation of platelet activity can be used to treat IgG-mediated disease or viral infections.

Can the release of a monoamine neurotransmitter influence regulation of B cell activity?

When activated, platelets release serotonin. The monoamine neurotransmitter is well known for its regulation of mood and intestinal movements. However, many cells of the immune system also express serotonin-responsive elements. Here, we focus on elucidating the molecular pathways and cellular processes that are influenced by serotonin-receptor signaling in human and murine B cells during an immune response. The goal of the project is to evaluate the potential use of serotonin-receptor antagonists for treatment of B cell derived malignancies.

Methodology in the group include isolation of primary murine and human B cells and platelets, patient samples, primary cell tissue culture, flow cytometry and cell sorting, histology, western blot, ELISA and quantitative RT-PCR.

-Group members
Mattias Forsell, PhD                               Principal investigator
Shrikant Kolan, PhD                               Postdoctoral researcher
Anne Tuiskunen-Bäck, PhD                     Postdoctoral researcher

For publications, klick: PUBMED

-Available postions/projects
We currently have a number of M.Sc. thesis projects available.
For more information, please contact

- Alumni
Linda Kvastad, M.Sc., technician
Current: Ph.D. student at Science for Life Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden
Anna Liisa Luik, M.Sc, technician
Current: Ph.D. student at Max Planck Research School, Munster, Germany

Page Editor: Maja Ingo

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Contact Information

Mattias Forsell
Umeå universitet, Klinisk mikrobiologi/Immunologi, Målpunkt R
901 85 Umeå