Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Medicine

Joan M Cook-Mills, PhD

Joan M Cook-Mills, PhD

Professor of Medicine (Allergy and Immunology)

Focus of Work

Bio

LEUKOCYTE RECRUITMENT DURING ALLERGIC DISEASE.

White blood cell (leukocyte) migration from the blood into tissues is vital for immune surveillance and inflammation. Specificity for the site of leukocyte migration is determined by the combination of adhesion molecules, cytokines and chemokines in the microenvironment.

We have focused on regulation of allergic inflammation by vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-1). VCAM-1 is expressed on blood vessel endothelial cells during atheroscleros...[Read full text]
LEUKOCYTE RECRUITMENT DURING ALLERGIC DISEASE.

White blood cell (leukocyte) migration from the blood into tissues is vital for immune surveillance and inflammation. Specificity for the site of leukocyte migration is determined by the combination of adhesion molecules, cytokines and chemokines in the microenvironment.

We have focused on regulation of allergic inflammation by vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-1). VCAM-1 is expressed on blood vessel endothelial cells during atherosclerosis, allograft rejection, infection, and asthmatic responses. Furthermore, disruption of the mouse VCAM-1 gene impairs heart development resulting in embryo death. Thus, VCAM-1 has important functions in development and disease.

We are examining the molecular mechanisms for VCAM-1 signal transduction in endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo. We have reported that VCAM-1 signals through reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide. These reactive oxygen rapidly stimulate endothelial cell-associated matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and protein kinase Ca, resulting in endothelial cell contraction for the opening of passageways through which leukocytes migrate. Blocking this signaling pathway in vivo inhibits allergic inflammation.

Currently, there are three main research directions regarding regulation of allergic inflammation that are under investigation in animal models and in clinical studies.

1. Mechanisms for VCAM-1 signaling.
2. Vitamin E regulation of leukocyte recruitment in allergen responses.
3. Amino Acid (5HTP)/Neurotransmitter regulation of inflammation.[Shorten text]

Keywords

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Education and Certification

  • PhD: Michigan State University, Biochemistry (1987)

Contact

312-503-0906

McGaw Pavilion Suite M304
240 E Huron
Chicago IL 60611