Prof. Dr. Frank Heppner
Group Leader
Charitéplatz 1
10117 Berlin
 +49 30 450-536041

My research group aims to understand the impact of the immune system on the pathogenesis of neurological diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases. Generating and utilizing murine disease models in order to study the contribution of specific immune molecules in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and investigating the detailed mechanism of Abeta-vaccination in AD are my major research foci.

Based on one of my major discoveries, namely that inhibition of the immune molecules interleukin (IL)-12 and -23 results in a drastic amelioration of Alzheimer's disease pathology, I am aiming to initiate a first clinical trial to test IL-12/23 inhibition in Alzheimer's patients by repurposing existing drugs. Besides, I have a long-standing interest in understanding microglia biology in health and disease. To enable translation, we recently established a biobank in order to collect tissues including brains from patients with neurodegenerative diseases, which will support our translational efforts. I have contributed to more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, many of them published in leading journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience and Neuron.

Key Publications

Prokop S, Miller KR, Drost N, Handrick S, Mathur V, Luo J, Wegner A, Wyss-Coray T, Heppner FL. Impact of peripheral myeloid cells on amyloid-β pathology in Alzheimer's disease-like mice. J Exp Med. 2015 Jan 01; 212:1811-8. doi: 10.1084/jem.20150479
Heppner FL, Ransohoff RM, Becher B. Immune attack: the role of inflammation in Alzheimer disease. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015 Jan 01; 16:358-72. doi: 10.1038/nrn3880
Krabbe G*, Halle A*, Matyash V, Rinnenthal JL, Eom GD, Bernhardt U, et al. Functional impairment of microglia coincides with Beta-amyloid deposition in mice with Alzheimer-like pathology. PloS one. 2013 Jan 01; 8:e60921. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060921
Vom Berg J, Prokop S, Miller KR, Obst J, Kälin RE, Lopategui-Cabezas I, Wegner A, Mair F, Schipke CG, Peters O, Winter Y, Becher B, Heppner FL. Inhibition of IL-12/IL-23 signaling reduces Alzheimer's disease-like pathology and cognitive decline. Nature Medicine. 2012 Jan 01; 18:1812-9. doi: 10.1038/nm.2965
Grathwohl SA, Kälin RE, Bolmont T, Prokop S, Winkelmann G, Kaeser SA, Odenthal J, Radde R, Eldh T, Gandy S, Aguzzi A, Staufenbiel M, Mathews PM, Wolburg H, Heppner FL*, Jucker M*. Formation and maintenance of Alzheimer's disease beta-amyloid plaques in the absence of microglia. Nature Neuroscience. 2009 Jan 01; 12:1361-3. doi: 10.1038/nn.2432


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