Future Leaders in Pain Research
2009 Grant Recipient: Lynnae Schwartz, MD
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Research Institute
Enteric astrogliosis and neurokinin-1 receptor activation in the persistent abdominal pain of pediatric AIDS
Please state which institution you are currently conducting research.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
How did receiving the Future Leaders in Pain Research Grant impact your career in pain research?
The grant supported efforts to derive and characterize a cell population of primary enteric astrocytes, and to then examine both their response to, and production of, proinflammatory molecules implicated in persistent abdominal pain. We extended our observations to include the response to HIV-1 associated neuroinflammatory substances and, in an in vivo rat model, the additional effects of stress. Pilot studies in archival human gut tissue were also performed to demonstrate co-localization of a HIV-1 associated protein (p24) with GFAP (a marker of astrocyte identity) and the neurokinin-1 receptor. These methods and data were included in several applications for research funding submitted to the NIH (R21), DOD, a non-governmental foundation, and local funding sources administered through CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania. The results of the work supported by APS will be included in at least one future manuscript.
What is your current research focus? Briefly describe the importance of this work and how it advances the APS goals, mission, and your own personal development.
My funded research is focused on determining the effects of a specific mediator of neuroinflammation, Substance P, on the functional biology and phenotypic fate of human brain-derived neural progenitor cells, and of astroglia with progenitor potential in the context of an HIV-1 positive environment. This is the project most closely aligned with work supported by my APS grant, in that it explores a mechanism of neural inflammation that may be a driver of pain signaling in the central, peripheral and enteric nervous systems. A second supported project, now completed and at the stage of manuscript preparation, compared differences in brain morphometrics computed from high resolution MRI from children and adolescents with perinatally acquired HIV-1 disease/AIDS to age and gender-matched typically developed controls.