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Ann-Judith Silverman, Ph.D.


E-mail: as36@columbia.edu

Cellular immigration into the central nervous system

silverman picture There are two populations of cells under study in my laboratory: one neuronal, and one involved in inflammatory responses. The neuronal population makes the neuropeptide, gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), which is essential for normal reproductive development. These cells originate in the olfactory placode and migrate broadly within the CNS during early embryogenesis. Our goal is to understand the mechanism by which these cells find their way to their various target sites in the CNS. The laboratory uses both in vivo and in vitro methods to alter the microenvironment of the migrating cells to determine what might promote or hinder movement. In addition, experiments with video confocal microscopy of labeled slices will also be used to analyze this movement mechanistically. a 
picture of migrating GnRH neurons

The second set of projects, in collaboration with Dr. Rae Silver, concerns the entry of mast cells into the CNS. Mast cells are best known for their role in inflammatory disease. However, they also exist in th e CNS and are pluripotent as to the possible secretory products they can release. We have discovered that their numbers in specific brain regions appear to be controlled by developmental age and reproductive status. The goals now are to analyze at a cellu lar level how they enter the CNS (both physical pathways and potential chemotactic agents) and how they influence the brain vasculature and neuronal transmission (in collaboration with Dr. Lorna Role).

Selected publications
Livne, I., Gibson, M.J. and Silverman, A.J. (1993) Biochemical differentiation and intercellular interactions of migratory GnRH cells in the mouse. Developmental Biology 159: 643-656.

Hilal, E., Chen, J. and Silverman, A.J. (1996) Joint migration of GnRH and NPY neurons from the olfactory placode to the CNS. J. Neurobiology 31: in press. Cover picture.

Silver, R. Ramos, C. and Silverman, A.J. (1992) Sexual behavior triggers appearance of non-neuronal cells containing GnRH-like immunoreactivity. J. Neuroendocrinology. 4: 207-210.

Silver, R. Silverman, A.J., Vitkovic, L. and Lederhandler, I. (1996) Mast cells in the brain: evidence and functional significance. Trends in Neuroscience 19: 25-31.

Zhuang, X., Silverman, A.J. and Silver, R. (1996) Brain mast cell degranulation regulates blood-brain barrier. J. Neurobiology 31: in press.

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