• About
Karolinska institutet
Karolinska universitetssjukhuset

Eric Herlenius Group

Development of autonomic control


Immature or deficient autonomic control is a common problem in infants born at a premature age and is of central importance in apneas, secondary hypoxic brain damage and sudden infant death syndrome.


For better understanding of disturbances in respiratory control we study early development of cardiorespiratory control, brainstem neural networks and it’s associations with normal and pathological breathing. The conceptual change introduced by our recent data that endogenous prostaglandins are central pathogenic factors in respiratory disorders and the hypoxic response, open new diagnostic and therapeutic avenues that should significantly better the diagnostics and treatment of newborns and adult patients.

Inflammation is a major culprit in breathing disorders and we hypothesize that by using a newly developed urinary prostaglandin biomarker we can screen, detect and protect against inflammation related breathing disorders.

Our collaborative efforts enable us to move from a clinical problem to molecular understanding of the disease and studies are performed in patients, animal & in vitro models.

Our research is focused on the development of autonomic control with normal and paediatric patients as the target. Autonomic dysfunction in breathing and circulatory control often has its origin in neurodevelopment disorders. Furthermore, our basic research in developmental neuroscience how neural activity and stem cells form activity dependent networks is vital for the development of therapeutic interventions.

Group Leader

Eric Herlenius studied medicine at Karolinska Institutet where he also defended his PhD thesis in developmental neuroscience 1998. He subsequently joined Profs Iku Homma and Evan Snyder for postdoc at Showa University, Tokyo and Children’s Hospital, Harvard medical school, Boston respectively, to study activity dependent development and plasticity of functional neural networks. He then specialized in Pediatrics and continued investigations regarding perinatal development of autonomic control. He is a Physician-scientist focused on translational medicine, combining basic mechanistic and patient research to develop novel methods to screen, detect and protect against inflammation related breathing disorders.

Current positions and commitments

  • Professor of Pediatrics, Karolinska Institutet
  • Senior Consultant in Pediatrics, Astrid Lindgren´s Children´s Hospital
  • Chair Research & Development and education for Pediatric Emergency and Infectious disease, Karolinska University Hospital
  • Head, Perinatology course Medical Students, KI
  • Head DeepNEWS – Deep machine learning based Novel Early Warning System. KI-K-KTH

Group members

Selected publications

Ahmadzadeh E, Polglase Gr, Stojanovska V, Herlenius E, Walker Dw, Miller Sl, Allison Bj
The Journal of physiology 2023;601(21):4667-4689
Vidinopoulos K, Azman Z, Somers A, Zahra Va, Thiel A, Lu H, Pham Y, Tran Nt, Allison Bj, Herlenius E, Hooper S, Galinsky R, Polglase Gr. Frontiers in pediatrics 2023;11():1225294-
Honoré A, Forsberg D, Adolphson K, Chatterjee S, Jost K, Herlenius E. Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992) 2023;112(4):686-696
Stålhammar Am, Honoré A, Adolphson K, Forsberg D, Herlenius E, Jost K. Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992) 2023;112(7):1443-1452
Auxilin is a novel susceptibility gene for congenital heart block which directly impacts fetal heart function.  Meisgen S, Hedlund M, Ambrosi A, Folkersen L, Ottosson V, Forsberg D, Thorlacius Ge, Biavati L, Strandberg L, Mofors J, Ramskold D, Ruhrmann S, Meneghel L, Nyberg W, Espinosa A, Hamilton Rm, Franco-cereceda A, Hamsten A, Olsson T, Greene L, Eriksson P, Gemzell-danielsson K, Salomonsson S, Kuchroo Vk, Herlenius E, Kockum I, Sonesson Se, Wahren-herlenius M. Annals of the rheumatic diseases 2022;81(8):1151-1161
Stojanovska V, Atta J, Kelly Sb, Zahra Va, Matthews-staindl E, Nitsos I, Moxham A, Pham Y, Hooper Sb, Herlenius E, Galinsky R, Polglase Gr. Frontiers in physiology 2022;13():841229-
Samara A, Herlenius E, O’ Brien P, Khalil A. Cell reports. Medicine 2022;3(1):100490-
Prostaglandin E2 Exerts Biphasic Dose Response on the PreBötzinger Complex Respiratory-Related Rhythm. Reising Jp, Phillips Ws, Ramadan N, Herlenius E. Frontiers in neural circuits. 2022;16():826497-
Proteomic profiles in cerebrospinal fluid predicted death and disability in term infants with perinatal asphyxia: A pilot study Leifsdottir K, Thelin Ep, Lassarén P, Siljehav V, Nilsson P, Eksborg S, Herlenius E. Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992) 2022;111(5):961-970
Leifsdottir K, Jost K, Siljehav V, Thelin Ep, Lassarén P, Nilsson P, Haraldsson Á, Eksborg S, Herlenius E. Frontiers in pediatrics 2022;10():921444-
See Eric Herlenius’ publications in PubMed.

About CMM

The Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) is a foundation instituted by the Stockholm County Council (Region Stockholm). CMM is at the heart of a close partnership with the Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet, fueling advancements in biomedical and clinical research.


Center for Molecular Medicine Foundation, org. nr. 815201-3689

Karolinska University Hospital L8:05

Visionsgatan 18

171 76 Stockholm, Sweden


Karolinska institutet
Karolinska universitetssjukhuset