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Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Medicine

PI: Kalpna Gupta

Three-Dimensional Construction of Images of Neuronal and Vascular Structures

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is accompanied by inflammation replete with activated pro-inflammatory cells, upregulated endothelial adhesion molecule expression, and increased circulatory pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, ongoing organ injury due to ischemia reperfusion injury, "crises,” and vasculopathy argue for persistent inflammatory and neuropathic insult that may activate and sensitize nociceptors on afferent nerve fibers. Consistent with the inflammatory milieu and organ disease, patients with SCD experience persistent pain that increases in intensity with age. Nociceptors and DRG neurons are excited or sensitized by inflammatory mediators. These researchers are therefore examining the sensitization of DRG neurons and activation of glial cells along with the presentation of the vasculature in the DRG. They expect that the vascular and nerve fiber relationship will be impaired in the DRG and that there will be an increase in neuropathic pain marker ATF3 and increase in astrocytic and microglial activation.

Group Members

Yunfang Li, Research Associate
Kathryn Luk, Undergraduate Student
Julia Nguyen, Staff
Silas Wallen-Friedman, Undergraduate Student