Press Release


Solving the riddle of postoperative adhesions

Scientists of ILBD/CPC not only found signals that trigger the initiation of mesothelial adhesions. They also discovered inhibitors that prevent the formation.

Micrometer adhesions © Adrian Fischer, Tim Koopmans

An important next step in preventing surgical adhesions was discovered in the group of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich (Cellular Therapeutics in Chronic Lung Disease, interner link). The first authors of the study, Adrian Fischer (ILBD/CPC) and Tim Koopmans (now: Hubrecht Institute) found a program that activates the mesothelial cells and allows them to form adhesions. The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications.



Postoperative adhesions are a phenomenon in which organ surfaces stick together after a surgical intervention. They can affect small areas or even fuse entire organs and cause massive pain. They even can lead to death. The problem:  They occur with a probability of over 93%, depending on the procedure. Until today, the exact anatomical origin of what triggers these adhesions has not yet been solved.

The team demonstrated that post-operative adhesions form from mesothelial cells and not from fibroblasts depositing matrix. In order to find potential ways of influencing the adhesion process, the team finally found an answer by inventing a novel in vitro assay that simulates adhesiogenesis between human organ surfaces in microscopic detail. Thus, they revealed the mechanism of adhesion formation and transmission from one organ to another.

As Adrian Fischer says: “Our new findings we not only provide a better understanding of a clinical pathology that affects millions of people, we also provide a translational approach to prevent this disease.”

Find the publication here: Post-surgical adhesions are triggered by calcium-dependent membrane bridges between mesothelial surfaces.