Lidy van Kemenade
BSc and MSc thesis
Research interests: Neuroendocrine-Immune interactions and its implications for immunity in teleost fish
Lidy van Kemenade studied Analytical Chemistry (BSc) and Biology (MSc University of Utrecht, cum laude) with a major in molecular genetics. Before joining the Cell Biology and Immunology Group of the Wageningen University in August 1987 as an assistant professor she had a working career in molecular biology (Molecular Biology, Utrecht University), chemical industry (Oxy research, Den Bosch), bachelor teaching (Higher Laboratory education, Oss) and neuroendocrine research (Animal Physiology, Radboud University, Nijmegen).
Her PhD thesis (1987) was devoted to neuroendocrine regulation of hormone synthesis, processing and release. As a consequence of her interest in inter- and intracellular regulation, at Wageningen University she initiated a research line in innate immunity and cytokine regulation of the immune responses in carp. Special focus is directed towards the potential interaction between the neuroendocrine and the immune system and the influence of environmental factors like stress or electromagnetic fields.
She actively participates in the International Society of Developmental and Comparative Immunology (ISDCI). Furthermore she has an active participation in the discipline of Comparative Endocrinology. She was board member of the Royal Dutch Society of Zoology (also involved in organizing the Benelux Zoology Congress) and of the section Animal Physiology of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Currently she is member of the board of the European Society of Comparative Endocrinology (ESCE). She has an active collaboration with the Jagiellonian University in Krakau, Poland (Dr hab Magdalena Chadzinska) and the Physiology Group of the Radboud University in Nijmegen (Prof. Gert Flik) to undertake a joint effort for an interdisciplinary study into the role of steroids, catecholamines, opioids and their receptors in farmed fish.
Physical, chemical and biological disturbances evoke an incredible repertoire of physiological, endocrinological and immunological responses. It is now recognized that the neuroendocrine- and immune systems interact in a bi-directional fashion. In this way the status of pathogen recognition is communicated to the brain and the immune response is influenced by physiological changes. This explicit communication consequently needs a common language of signaling molecules and receptors. The network includes corticosteroids, classical pituitary hormones, cytokines and neuropeptides, as well as neural pathways. Understanding the basic biological significance of this dialogue may provide therapeutic benefit for treatment of pathologies. We focus on the pathways, receptors and mechanisms involved in teleost fish which form an excellent model to reveal phylogenetically old and original mechanisms of stress physiology and immunology.
Stress and Immune Regulation
In aquaculture procedures, stressful circumstances of crowding and handling are inevitable. Changes in the stress axis hormones may have serious impact on immune functioning. This is studied in carp in acute or chronic stress paradigms for which differential sensitivity to cortisol and POMC- peptides e.g ACTH was determined. The different gluco- and minaeralo- corticoid receptor genes (GR and MR) and their splice variants are all differentially expressed in vivo and show different affinity for their ligand in vitro. Hereby teleostean fishes can be seen as model species, with different functional GR proteins within one organism, which enables investigation of the molecular basis of cortisol resistance.
Opioids peptides and their role in immune defense
Opioids can affect the immune response either directly via opioid receptors localised on leukocytes, or indirectly via activation of stress axis and sympathethic nervous system. Opioid receptors have been identified in fish and their evolutionary relationship with mammalian factors and functions support their essential role in neuroendocrine and immune responses.
Cytokine regulation of innate immunity in teleost fish
Cytokines are important regulators of inflammatory responses. Also within the teleost immune sytem, cytokines are rapidly identified and we are beginning to understand their physiological importance for immunological defence. Their low level of evolutionary conservation, their pleiotropic nature and redundancy illustrates the complexity, but molecular characterization of several important inflammatory cytokines could be achieved and recombinant proteins are available. Our focus at this moment is directed towards the pro-inflammatory cytokines of the IL-1 family, Interferon, and the different chemokine families as well as the anti-inflammatory cytokines. A genome-wide approach of database mining at this moment allows characterization of the complete profile of cytokines in teleosts and moreover provides new insight into their phylogenetic origin.
Modulation of Immune Response through Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field (LF EMF) exposure
The goal of the current project is to explore hazards and benefits, related to immune system activity, of low frequency (LF) EMF exposure that may help understand and even predict potential health effects of such exposure.