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Endothelin receptor may play role in sickle cell pain
Date:9/10/2009

18) were studied at the university's Children's Cancer and Blood Disorder Center. During the youngsters' routine visits researchers videotaped the participants during the needle stick blood draw process and asked the participants to rate their pain level during the blood draw. The scoring system used emoticons that indicated pain levels between 0-10. The blood was then analyzed for the presence of endothelin, which was found to increase with the child's increasing pain

In phase II the team constructed an animal model using endothelin that allowed them to control the age at first vaso-occlusive pain and the effect of repeated vaso-occlusive events on subsequent pain events.

Endothelin was administered to young rats seven days after birth and again on day 11 to model repeated painful vaso-occlusive type episodes. A different group experienced its first ET-1 exposure 11 days after birth. The two groups were compared.

Males More Sensitized to Pain

In the animal model the researchers found:

  • Males had a greater pain response if they had been "primed" to pain by a first exposure to ET-1. Moreover, their pain radiated virtually throughout the body rather than being confined to the localized area of the pain experience.

  • By contrast, females had a lower pain response if they had been primed, meaning they were de-sensitized to pain after a first exposure to ET-1. Further, unlike the males, female desensitization was localized rather than widespread.

The data from the clinic study showed similar results:

  • Male SCD patients in the clinic study were sensitized to pain after "priming" whereas female SCD patients were de-sensitized.

Role of Endothelin, Endorphins and Hormones

According to Sweitzer, these findings may be due to a change in the endothelin B receptor (ETBR). This receptor is important in the body's internal ability to control
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Contact: Donna Krupa
dkrupa@the-aps.org
301-634-7209
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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