Why does sickle cell hurt? Researcher to study pain of the disease

May 15, 2014

The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study the underlying causes of pain in sickle cell disease.

Cheryl Stucky, Ph.D., professor of cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy and Director of the Neuroscience Doctoral Program at MCW, is the principle investigator of the grant.

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a common blood disorder that affects millions of people around the world, and is particularly common in the United States in African Americans. The disease is characterized by sickle-shaped red blood cells, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells and the sickled cells become stuck in blood vessels, clogging blood flow. SCD is also accompanied by crippling pain that tends to increase in severity and frequency with age. However, the exact cause of that pain is unknown.

Dr. Stucky has found that mice with severe SCD have severely dysfunctional mitochondria in their sensory neurons, which is likely affiliated with the pain and sensitivity to touch and cold temperatures in patients with SCD. She believes that the reactive oxygen species generation that occurs in SCD causes that mitochondrial dysfunction. In this project, Dr. Stucky, together with co-investigator Cheryl Hillery, M.D., will evaluate this hypothesis and also determine whether treatment with mitochondrial-targeted antioxidants reverses the pain in mice with SCD.

By gleaning a better understanding of the precise nerve cells and pathways that sense and influence the pain of SCD, the researchers hope to identify new methods to treat the disease more safely and effectively in patients.

This project is funded by NIH grant R01NS07071105.

Community Watch

» Friends of Center Street Park will launch new barbecue event July 3 01:15 PM

» 2016 Fourth of July events in the Milwaukee suburbs Updated:  11:50 AM

» Long-tenured sports writer Sky Skibosh heads into retirement, sort of 6/26

» Family, friends of man killed by Wauwatosa officer want answers 6/25

» Tosa man with gun trove to plead guilty of illegal dealing 6/24

» Wauwatosa endorses bus rapid transit route, more approvals needed Updated:  6/23

» Video: Tosa Top 5: Five things you need to know about in Wauwatosa this week 6/23

» Wauwatosa officer fatally shoots man at Madison Park 6/23

» Wauwatosa Public Library announces list of summer events 6/22

» Blood drives scheduled for Milwaukee County during month of July 6/22

» Two lanes on Wauwatosa's Harmonee Bridge to close Thursday 6/22

» Milwaukee Co. Zoo welcomes baby harbor seal, bonobo 6/22

» Teens accused of trying to rob Tosa resident with BB gun Updated:  6/22

» Hidden Tosa: Inside the Wauwatosa Police Department 6/22

» Offense holding back Wauwatosa West baseball team 6/21

» Wauwatosa East baseball wins four conference games 6/21

» Former Wauwatosa West star Austin Jones drafted by Chicago Cubs in 26th round 6/21

» East Tosa Gran Prix returns to Wauwatosa June 26 6/21

» Wauwatosa School Board votes to give teachers a bump in pay Updated:  6/20

» New records for Tosa Swim Club 6/20

» Tosa customers temporarily lose power after squirrel causes blown fuse 6/20

» Video: VISIT Milwaukee, city of Wauwatosa launch new tourism video 6/20

» Mayfair mall's Sephora draws police attention since February Updated:  6/17

» Pool at Hoyt Park running again following mid-week mechanical failure 6/17

» Wauwatosa seeks participants for survey on city communication 6/17

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Best Summer Ever

 

We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Hidden Tosa

 

"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where our Wauwatosa reporter explores the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.

Advertisement

CONNECT