Benutzerspezifische Werkzeuge

Adrenal Gland Tumorigenesis

PD Dr. rer. nat. habil. Christian G. Ziegler

PD Dr. rer. nat. habil. Christian G. Ziegler

Research group leader Preclinical tumor models / diabetes

  • Date of Birth 17.08.1972
  • 1992-1998 Department of Biology, Julius-Maximilian University of Würzburg
  • 1998 Master in Biology (Human Genetics), University of Würzburg
  • 1999-2003 PhD student at the Department of Human Genetics, University of Würzburg
  • 2003 PhD in Biology (Human Genetics)
  • 2003-2004 Postdoc position in the Department of Human Genetics and in the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital, University of Würzburg (main focus: tumour genetics and immunology)
  • 2004-present research group leader in the field of Molecular Endocrinology, Diabetology at the Helmholtzzentrum München and the Technische Universität Dresden

  +49 (0)351 458-6615


For over a decade the main focus of Dr. Christian G. Ziegler’s research group is on adrenal tumors and pre-clinical adrenal cancer models, with special focus on pheochromocytoma (PHEO). Within my two funded DFG projects (Zi 1362/2-1, 2-2; 2012-2018) we investigate novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of PHEO in vitro and in vivo (1, 2). We specifically elucidated the role and significance of aberrantly expressed neuropeptide hormone receptors in adrenal diseases. Based on these initial in vitro studies we developed a novel mouse pheochromocytoma (MPC)-mcherry allograft model enabling in vivo-fluorescence imaging of tumor development. In this mouse model we could, as the first group so far, correlate tumor size with tumor-related renal monoamine secretion in preclinical PHEO models (3). Furthermore, our unique MPC-mCherry allograft model was successfully employed in a study focusing on preclinical diagnostic and targeted SSTR2 evaluations by long-lasting peptide somatostatin analogues (4). By multimodal imaging, including optical imaging, computed tomography (CT), magnet resonance imaging (MRI), and position emissions tomography (PET), we precisely followed tumour growth in vivo over a general observation period of 30 days. 


Adapted according to Ullrich and Ziegler et al., 2016 (4).

In our actual ongoing studies (currently funded by DFG: CRC/TRR 205 until end of 2021) we now evaluate combined and novel treatment strategies for PHEO based on our subcutaneous mcherry mouse model and on recently developed advanced bioluminescence i.v. PHEO models with different organ lesions, typical for the human disease. Furthermore, in our immune-compromised as well as -deficient mice we extended our theranostic strategies on pheochromocytoma tumor metabolism and novel immune-oncological approaches. All our studies are in close collaboration with the Helmholtzzentrum Dresden Rossendorf (HZDR), one of the very few European centers with the expertise and availability of a dedicated multimodal small animal imaging facility.

Additional important and very fruitful cooperations exist for many years with the noble laurate Andrew V. Schally (Miami Miller School of Medicine), Karel Pacak (NIH, Bethesda), Arthur Tischler (Tufts Medical Center, Boston) as well as with Graeme Eisenhofer (TUD).

Actual members of Dr. Ziegler’s group

Martin Ullrich (Postdoc), Josephine Liers (Dipl.-Pharm., PhD Student), Claudia Luther (PhD candidate) and Caroline Gondek (MD candidate

My projects on pheochromocytoma and diabetes research (5, 6), among others, are technically supported by Linda Friedrich and Uta Lehnert.

Selected publications on these projects

  1. Ziegler CG, Brown JW, Schally AV, Erler A, Gebauer L, Treszl A, Young L, Fishman LM, Engel JB, Willenberg HS, Petersenn S, Eisenhofer G, Ehrhart-Bornstein M, Bornstein SR.Expression of neuropeptide hormone receptors in human adrenal tumors and cell lines: antiproliferative effects of peptide analogues. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009.
  2. Ziegler CG, Ullrich M, Schally AV, Bergmann R, Pietzsch J, Gebauer L, Gondek K, Qin N, Pacak K, Ehrhart-Bornstein M, Eisenhofer G, Bornstein SR. Anti-tumor effects of peptide analogs targeting neuropeptide hormone receptors on mouse pheochromocytoma cells. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2013.
  3. Ullrich M, Bergmann R, Peitzsch M, Cartellieri M, Qin N, Ehrhart-Bornstein M, Block NL, Schally AV, Pietzsch J, Eisenhofer G, Bornstein SR, Ziegler CG. In vivo fluorescence imaging and urinary monoamines as surrogate biomarkers of disease progression in a mouse model of pheochromocytoma. Endocrinology 2014.
  4. Ullrich M, Bergmann R, Peitzsch M, Zenker EF, Cartellieri M, Bachmann M, Ehrhart-Bornstein M, Block NL, Schally AV, Eisenhofer G, Bornstein SR, Pietzsch J, Ziegler CG. Theranostics, 2016.
  5. Schmid J, Ludwig B, Schally AV, Steffen A, Ziegler CG, Block NL, Koutmani Y, Brendel MD, Karalis KP, Simeonovic CJ, Licinio J, Ehrhart-Bornstein M, Bornstein SR. Modulation of pancreatic islets-stress axis by hypothalamic releasing hormones and 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011.
  6. Ludwig B, Ziegler CG, Schally AV, Richter C, Steffen A, Jabs N, Funk RH, Brendel MD, Block NL, Ehrhart-Bornstein M, Bornstein SR. Agonist of growth hormone-releasing hormone as a potential effector for survival and proliferation of pancreatic islets. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010.