Mechiel Korte

Mechiel Korte is associate professor within Division Pharmacology and an expert in Neuroimmunopharmacology. The primary goal of this group is to understand how pro-inflammatory cytokines affect the brain to produce depression (including anhedonia, i.e. pleasure deafness), fatigue and sickness behavior. This opens up the possibility to develop new effective pharma-nutritional treatments. Dr. Korte performed his PhD research in the field of Neurobiology of Stress at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). A NWO-Talent stipendium enabled him to be post-doc at the department of Neuropharmacology of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla (USA). He joined the Dutch Institute for Animal Science and Health, Lelystad, Wageningen University and Research Centre in 1996. Dr. Korte was appointed as associate professor of the division Psychopharmacology at Utrecht University in 2008


Research in the Korte group is aimed at finding new pharma-nutritional treatments for fatigue and depression. His research can be roughly divided in three themes: i) ‘Fatigue’ – neuroimmune mechanisms and target finding, ii) ‘Depression’ – anti-inflammatory strategies, iii) ‘Animal Welfare’ – neuroimmune mechanisms of well-being and sickness behavior. The research of the Korte group relies on combining immunology and neuropharmacology in in vivo models (rat and mice). In addition, the lab uses state-of-the-art in vivo techniques (intracranial self-stimulation, microdialysis and uHPLC of monoamines, GABA and glutamate) and animal models (stress, depression, fatigue) and rodent behavioral tests (mazes, open fields, defensive burying, EthoVision XT, automatic behavioral testing (PhenoTyper)).

Coming from studying of seemingly different research fields, i.e. immunology and neuropharmacology, elements that were previously considered to be domains of one discipline are now discovered in the other. There is a rapidly growing amount of evidence demonstrating a strong bidirectional signalling between the immune system and the brain. These neuroimmune-interactions play an important role in disorders like: autoimmune disorders (including rheumatic diseases), Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, obesity, diabetes, stroke, myocardial infarction, kidney failure, neurodegenerative disorders (including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis), cancers and others. This is especially true for overlapping disease symptoms caused by pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as fatigue and depression. Thus, neuroimmune-interactions play a crucial role in human well-being and animal welfare, i.e. the Quality of Life!

Selected publications

  1. Korte, SM, Prins, Jolanda, Krajnc, AM, Hendriksen, H, Oosting, RS, Westphal, KGC, Korte-Bouws, GAH & Olivier, B (2015). The many different faces of major depression - it is time for personalized medicine. European journal of pharmacology, 753, (pp. 88-104).
  2. Van Heesch, F, Prins, J, Konsman, JP, Westphal, KGC, Olivier, B, Kraneveld, AD & Korte, SM (2013). Lipopolysaccharide-induced anhedonia is abolished in male serotonin transporter knockout rats - An intracranial self-stimulation study. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 29, (pp. 98-103).
  3. Korte, SM, Koolhaas, JM, Wingfield, JC & McEwen, BS (2005). The Darwinian concept of stress - benefits of allostasis and costs of allostatic load and the trade-offs in health and disease. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 29 (1), (pp. 3-38).

More information can be found on his staff page