Prof. Ward De Spiegelaere

Macrophages in angiogenesis

PhD research: Hanna Tay & Charis Du Cheyne

Blood vessels form the essential route through which oxygen, nutrients waste products and immune cells are transported to and from tissues. New blood vessels grow in developing tissues and in regenerating tissue, such as in wound healing. An essential step in the development of a functional vasculature is the remodeling and maturation of blood capillaries to a hierarchical mature vascular tree. In numerous pathologies, such as chronic inflammation and cancer, blood vessels remain immature and disorganized, leading to tissue death, inflammation and increased metastasis (in tumours). Consequently, there is an urgent need to find therapeutic strategies that can normalize the blood vessel network in these pathologies.

An important pathway during blood vessel maturation is the angiopoietin-TIE signaling complex. The TIE receptors are not only present on the endothelial cells lining blood vessels, but also on macrophages and pericytes that align the blood vessels. We hypothesize that TIE2 expressing macrophages are important regulators of vascular remodeling and maturation. We investigate the interaction of blood vessels with macrophages in two settings:

Dysfunctional blood vessels and TIE2 positive macrophages are present in exuberant granulation tissue (EGT) in chronic wounds of horses. We want to investigate the role of these TIE2 expressing macrophages in horse wounds and find therapeutic targets to treat these wounds.

Using the chick chorioallantoic membrane model, we study the role of the angiopoietin-TIE2 axis in macrophages on the development of blood vessel.

Canine mastocytoma

PhD research: Shana De Vos

Mast cell tumours are the most common skin tumour in dogs (estimated incidence of 129/100.000 dogs). In the current clinical practice, mast cell tumours are treated by surgical removal or radiotherapy. However, 25% of tumours metastasise and cause death within one year after diagnosis. We aim to better understand how mast cell tumours turn malignant. This may enable us to find new therapeutic strategies to prevent metastatic disease post-surgery, but it will also help us to find better biomarkers, which will help veterinarians to decide whether adjunctive chemotherapy is advised post-surgery.


Meer info over deelname aan de studie als dierenarts en/of eigenaar

Digital PCR

Digital PCR (dPCR) is an elegant method to perform absolute quantification of nucleic acids (DNA or RNA). A single PCR reaction is divided in 10.000 replicate reactions (partitions) at a sufficient dilution to ensure that not all partitions contain a molecule of interest. By counting the amount of positive partitions we can accurately estimate the absolute amount of nucleic acids in the sample. Ward De Spiegelaere has pioneered the use of digital PCR in HIV DNA and RNA quantification and he is an active member of the Ghent University Expertice Center on digital PCR (www.dpcr.ugent/be).

Contact informatie

Prof. Ward De Spiegelaere
Vakgroep Morfologie
Faculteit Diergeneeskunde – Universiteit Gent
Salisburylaan 133
9820 Merelbeke
Tel.:  09 264 77 38
Fax:  09 264 77 90