Title: Faculty & research interests





Michael D Gershon
Michael D Gershon, MD
Full Member

Department: Pathology and Cell Biology

BB 1422

Personal Website

Disease Models: Neurodegenerative Diseases, Neurological Diseases

Stem Cell Categories:

Model Organisms: Rodent

Themes: Brain

Dr. Michael D. Gershon received his B.A. degree in 1958 “with distinction� from Cornell University and his M.D. in 1963, again from Cornell. Gershon received postdoctoral training with Edith Bülbring in Pharmacology at Oxford University before returning to Cornell as an Assistant Professor of Anatomy in 1967. He was promoted to Professor before leaving Cornell to Chair the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology at Columbia University's College of P&S from 1975-2005. Gershon is now a Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology at Columbia. Gershon has been called “the father of neurogastroenterology�, in part because of his book “The Second Brain�, which introduced the ENS to the general public. Gershon's demonstration that serotonin is an enteric neurotransmitter was the first indication that the ENS is more than a collection of cholinergic relay neurons transmitting signals from the brain to the bowel. He was the first to identify intrinsic primary afferent neurons that initiate peristaltic and secretory reflexes and he demonstrated that these cells are activated by the mucosal release of serotonin. Gershon's contributions to the identification, location, and functional characterization of enteric serotonin receptors have been inportant in the design of drugs to treat irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, and chemotherapy-associated nausea. Gershon's discovery that the serotonin transporter (SERT), which terminates serotonergic signaling, is expressed in the bowel both by enterocytes and neurons opened new paths for research into the pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. He has linked mucosal serotonin to inflammation and neuronal serotonin to neuroprotection and the generation of new neurons from adult stem cells. These discoveries have led to the new idea that the function of serotonin is not limited to paracrine signaling and neurotransmission in the service of motility and secretion, but is also a sword and a shield of the gut. Gershon has teamed with his wife, Anne Gershon, to show that the mannose 6-phosphate receptor plays critical roles in the entry and exit of varicella zoster virus (VZV). The Gershons have also developed the first animal model of VZV disease, which enables lytic and latent infection as well as reactivation to be studied in isolated enteric neurons. The Gershons have also shown that following varicella, VZV establishes latency in the human ENS. Finally, Gershon has made major contributions to understanding the roles played by a number of critical transcription and growth factors in enabling émigrés from the neural crest to colonize the bowel, undergo regulated proliferation, find their appropriate destinations in the gut wall, and terminally differentiate into the most phenotypcially diverse component of the peripheral nervous system.


Margolis, KG., Gershon, MD., Breuer, J., Levin, M.J., Oaklander. A.L., Griffiths, P.D.,
Advances in the understanding of pathogenesis and epidemiology of herpes zoster. Journal of Clinical Virology, in press :. (2010)

Haub, S., Y., Bergheim I., Pabst, O., Gershon, MD., Bischoff, S.,
Enhancement of intestinal inflammation in mice lacking interleukin 10 by deletion of the serotonin reuptake transported (SERT); Neurogastroenterol Motil. epub ahead of print :. (2010)

Kuo, YM., Li, Z., Gaborit, N., Pani, AK., Orrison, BM., Bruneau,BI., Smeyne, RJ., Gershon, MD., Nussbaum, RL
Extensive enteric nervous system abnormalities in mice transgenic for artificial chromosomes containing Parkinson disease-associate ď?›/math/alpha.gifď?? - synuclein gene mutations precede central nervous system changes. Hum. Mol. Genet. 19:1633 - 1650. (2010)

Gershon, A.A., Gershon, M.D., Breuer, J., Levin, M.J., Oaklander, A.L., Griffiths, P.D.
Advances in the understanding of pathogenesis and epidemiology of herpes zoster. Journal of Clinical Virology, in-press :. (2009)

Welch, M., Anwar, M., Chang, C., Gross, K., Ruggiero, D., Tamir, H., Gershon, M.D.
Combined administration of secretin oxytocin inhibits chronic colitis and associated activation of forebrain neurons; Neuroogastroenterol Motil. :. (2009)

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