Faculty / Research

Styliani-Anna E. Tsirka, PhD



PhD, Biochemistry, Aristotle University of Thesssaloniki, Greece

B.S., Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thesssaloniki, Greece

631-444-3859  styliani-anna.tsirka@stonybrook.edu
Neuro-immune interactions: Cross-talk between the nervous and immune systems in health and disease

Traditionally the central nervous system (CNS) has been thought to be ‘immune privileged’ and not interact with the immune system. Increasing evidence however suggests that many neurodegenerative diseases, as well as many acute injuries in the CNS, are characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the CNS. An initial response to neuronal injury is evidenced by the activation of CNS microglia.  Microglia are antigen-presenting, immune-competent, macrophage-like cells that reside in the CNS and are able to modulate neuronal survival, or are hypothesized to affect neuronal structural changes occurring in response to neuronal activity. Our research interests concern the communication, signaling events and cell-cell interactions between neurons and microglia subsequent to normal or exaggerated stimulation of the CNS that lead to reorganization of neuronal connections in the brain or neuronal cell death.

Stella Tsirka was born and raised in Greece. She received her BS and PhD degrees from the University of Thessaloniki. She then pursued postdoctoral studies at Univ California San Francisco and SUNY Stony Brook, under the mentoring of Drs Phil Coffino and Sid Strickland, respectively. She was appointed Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at SBU in 1998, and joined the Pharmacology faculty in 2000.

Selected peer-reviewed publications or manuscripts in press.

1. S.E. Tsirka, A. Gualandris, D.G. Amaral, S. Strickland (1995) Excitotoxin-induced neuronal degeneration and seizure are mediated by tissue-type plasminogen activator.  Nature 377:340-344.

2. S.E. Tsirka, A.D. Rogove, S. Strickland (1996) Tissue plasminogen activator and neuronal cell death. Nature 384:123-124.

3. S.E. Tsirka, T.H. Bugge, J.L. Degen, S. Strickland. Neuronal death in the CNS demonstrates a non-fibrin substrate for plasmin. (1997) Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.USA 94: 9779-9781.

4. A.D. Rogove, S.E. Tsirka. (1998) Neurotoxic responses by microglia elicited by excitotoxic injury in the mouse hippocampus. Curr.Biol.8: 19-25.

5. Y.F. Wang, S.E. Tsirka, S. Strickland, P.E. Stieg, S.G. Soriano, S.A. Lipton. (1998) Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) increases neuronal damage after focal cerebral ischemia in wild-type and tPA-deficient mice. Nature Med 4: 228-232.

6. Y.-P. Wu, C.-J. Siao, W. Lu, T.-C. Sung, M.A. Frohman, P. Milev, T.H. Bugge, J.L. Degen, J.M. Levine, R.U. Margolis, S.E. Tsirka. (2000) The tPA/plasmin extracellular proteolytic system regulates hippocampal mossy fiber reorganization through a novel proteoglycan substrate. J. Cell Biol. 148:1295-1304

7. W. Lu, M. Bhasin and S. E. Tsirka. (2002) Involvement of tissue plasminogen activator in both onset and effector phases of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, J Neurosci: 22: 10781-10789.

8. M Bhasin, M Wu, SE Tsirka. (2007) Modulation of microglial/macrophage activation by macrophage inhibitory factor (TKP) or tuftsin (TKPR) attenuates the disease course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, BMC Immunology, 8 (1): 10 [Epub ahead of print]

9. W.B. Nolin, J. Emmetsberger, N. Bukhari, Y. Zhang, J.M. Levine, and S.E.Tsirka. (2008) tPA-Mediated Generation of Plasmin is Catalyzed by the Proteoglycan NG2, Glia,  56:177-189.

10. Wu, M and SE Tsirka. (2009) Endothelial NOS-deficient Mice reveal dual roles for nitric oxide during Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis, Glia. 57(11):1204-15 PMCID: PMC2706940

11. Pothakos, K, Robinson, JK, Marsteller, D., Gravanis, I, Dewey, SL., Tsirka SE. (2009) Decreased serotonin levels associated with behavioral disinhibition in tissue plasminogen activator deficient (tPA−/−) mice, Brain Research, 1326:135-42 PMCID: PMC2853966

12. Mirrione MM, Konomos DK, Gravanis, I, Dewey, SL, Aguzzi, A, Heppner, FL, and SE Tsirka. (2010) Microglial ablation and lipopolysaccharide preconditioning affects pilocarpine-induced seizures in mice, Neurobiol Dis. 39(1):85-97 PMCID: PMC2875881

13. Emmetsberger J, Mirrione MM, Zhou C, Siddiq M, Fernandez-Monreal M, Ji K, SE Tsirka (2010) Tissue Plasminogen Activator alters intracellular sequestration of zinc through interaction with the transporter ZIP4, J. Neurosci. 30(19):6538-47 PMCID: PMC2872103

14. Yao Y, Tsirka SE. (2010) The C-terminus of mouse monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP1) mediates MCP1 dimerization while blocking its chemotactic potency. J Biol Chem. 285:31509-16. PMCID: PMC2951225

15. Sierra A, Encinas JM, Deudero JJP, Chancey JH, Enikolopov G, Overstreet-Wadiche LS, Tsirka SE, Maletic-Savatic M (2010) Microglia shape adult hippocampal neurogenesis through apoptosis-coupled phagocytosis. Cell Stem Cell, 7:483-95

16. Talos F, Abraham A, Vaseva A, Holembowski L, Tsirka SE, Scheel A, Bode D, Dobbelstein M, Bruck W, Moll UM (2010) p73 is an Essential Regulator of Neural Stem Cell Maintenance in Embryonal and Adult CNS Neurogenesis. Cell Death Diff, 17:1816-29

17. Zhai H, Heppner FL, Tsirka SE (2011). Microglia/Macrophages Promote Glioma Progression, Glia. 59:472-85. PMCID: PMC3080032

18. Yao Y and Tsirka, SE (2011) Truncation of Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 by Plasmin Promotes Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption. J Cell Sci. 124:1486-95. PMCID: PMC3078815

19. Yao Y and Tsirka, SE (2011) Mouse MCP1 C-terminus inhibits human MCP1-induced chemotaxis and BBB compromise. J Neurochem, in press. NIHMSID #299839

20. Zhai H, Acharya S, Gravanis I, Mehmood S, Seidman R, Shroyer K, Hajjar KA, and Tsirka SE (2011) Annexin A2 Promotes Glioma Cell Invasion and Tumor Progression. J. Neurosci., in press.

Research Group
Jillian Nissen, Postdoc (jillian.cypser@stonybrook.edu)
Luisa Torres, Graduate student (luisa.torres@stonybrook.edu)
Robert Bronstein, Graduate student (robert.bronstein@stonybrook.edu)
Jeremy Miyauchi, Graduate student (jeremy.miyauchi@stonybrook.edu)
Christopher Lopez, Undergraduate student
Ramyaprabha Bondalapati, Undergraduate student

Stella Tsirka

Department of Pharmacological Sciences BST8, Rm 192 Stony Brook University 

Stony Brook, NY 11794-8651

Tel: 631-444-3859

Fax: 631-444-3218

Email: styliani-anna.tsirka@stonybrook.edu