Immunology of Infection


Principal Investigator:

Artur P. Águas

Artur P. Águas, MD, PhD

PhD Researchers:

Ana M. Lopes
António Sousa Pereira
Guilherme Gonçalves
Ana M. Lopes, PhD
António Sousa Pereira, MD, PhD
Guilherme Gonçalves, MD, PhD

João Frade
Joaquim Reis
Luzia Teixeira
João Frade, PhD
Joaquim Reis, MD, PhD
Luzia Teixeira, PhD

Maria João Oliveira
Paula G. Ferreira
Raquel M. Marques
Maria João R. Oliveira, PhD
Paula G. Proença, DVM, PhD
Raquel M. Marques, PhD

PhD Students:

Carlos Carvalho
Carlos Carvalho, MD

Other collaborators:

Ana Pinto
Bárbara Oliveira
Costa e Silva
Cristiana Vasconcelos
Manuela Silva
Ana Pinto
Bárbara Oliveira, DVM
Costa e Silva
Cristiana Vasconcelos, MD
Manuela Silva


Our previous data suggest that the interaction between rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) and host immune system may determine the opposite outcome of RHDV infection in young and adult rabbits as it is observed in Ebola virus infection. We have reported that the natural resistance of young rabbits to RHDV infection is associated with an early and robust innate immune response that strongly limits viral replication.  Oppositely, systemic dissemination of RHDV in adult rabbits is aided by suppression of the innate immune response and this would lead to lethal illness. Recently, we have demonstrated that corticosteroid-induced immunosuppression abrogates the resistance of young rabbits to RHD.

We showed that an apicomplexa parasitic infection can have important long-term consequences in the adipose tissue physiology of non-obese mice as assessed by persistent changes in immune cellular composition of adipose tissue and adipokines levels. We also showed the persistence in adipose tissue of parasite-specific memory, as revealed by IFN-γ production.

Biomaterials coupled with immunomodulatory molecules (e g, lipoxin and resolving) have recently been tested in our laboratory with the goal of creating advanced vertebral prostheses; this experimental endeavor is done under the supervision of a senior neurosurgeon and has started by using the rat as the animal model.


The Infection and Immunity Group includes two research lines. One concerning experimental calicivirus infection of rabbits that causes the so-called rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), whose principal investigator is Paula Ferreira and another, lead by principal investigator Luzia Teixeira, which concerns the study of immunity within the adipose tissue with a main focus on Neospora caninum infection. The general aim of the group is to contribute for advances on the immunobiology and pathophysiology of infectious diseases related with animal and human health.

Highlighted publications:

    1. Teixeira L, Marques RM, Ferreirinha P, Bezerra F, Melo J, Moreira J, Pinto A, Correia A, Ferreira PG, Vilanova M. Enrichment of IFN-γ producing cells in different murine adipose tissue depots upon infection with an apicomplexan parasite. Sci Rep. 2016; 6:23475. doi: 10.1038/srep23475.

    2. Teixeira L, Moreira J, Melo J, Bezerra F, Marques RM, Ferreirinha P, Correia A, Monteiro MP, Ferreira PG, Vilanova M. Immune response in the adipose tissue of lean mice infected with the protozoan parasite Neospora caninum. Immunology 2015 Jun;145(2):242-57. doi: 10.1111/imm.12440.

    3. Marques RM, Teixeira L, Aguas AP, Ribeiro JC, Costa-e-Silva A, Ferreira PG Immunosuppression abrogates resistance of young rabbits to Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD). Veterinary Research 2014 Feb 4;45:14. doi: 10.1186/1297-9716-45-14.

    4. Santos E, Coutinho E, Silva AM, Marinho A, Vasconcelos C, Taipa R, Pires MM, Gonçalves G, Lopes C, Leite MI. Inflammatory myopathy associated with myasthenia gravis with and without thymic pathology: Report of four cases and literature review. Autoimmunity Reviews 2017; 16(6): 644-649.

    5. Gonçalves, G, Frade, J, Nascimento, M, Mesquita, J, Nunes, C. Persistence of rubella and mumps antibodies, following changes in the recommended age for the second dose of MMR vaccine in Portugal. Epidemiol Infect 2016; 144(15): 3139-3147.

    6. Gonçalves G, Frade J, Nunes C, Mesquita JR, Nascimento MS. Persistence of measles antibodies, following changes in the recommended age for the second dose of MMR-vaccine in Portugal. Vaccine 2015; 33(39): 5057-5063.

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