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LSUHSC researchers working to prevent diabetic neuropathy

New Orleans, LA Dennis Paul, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, and Harry Gould, MD, PhD, the Tom Benson Professor of Neurology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, have been awarded one of two scientific research grants made in 2009 by The Neuropathy Association. The $80,000 grant will fund research to learn how to prevent nerve cell death in people with uncontrolled or untreated diabetes resulting in neuropathy.

In these patients, an enzyme called sodium potassium ATPase, know as the sodium pump because it pumps excess sodium ions out of the cell, does not work. When inflammation occurs, it triggers an increase in the number and sensitivity of sodium channels in the nerve cell membrane causing an influx of sodium with no way to get rid of it. Water follows the sodium into the nerve cells, causing swelling until the cells burst, a process called lysis.

Drs. Paul and Gould believe that by studying the role of nerve cell death by lysis, they can contribute a better understanding of how diabetic neuropathy develops, leading to better ways to influence the process.

"Understanding the mechanism of nerve cell survival after inflammatory or neuropathic insult will lead to new treatment and prevention strategies for diabetic neuropathy," says Dr. Paul.

The LSUHSC research team was chosen from thirteen applicants involved in neuropathy research at medical institutions across North America.

"We continue to invest in critical research that builds on our understanding of neuropathy's many forms, hopeful that our investments will lead to more effective treatment options and cures," says Thomas H. Brannagan, III, MD, Medical Advisor for The Neuropathy Association.


Contact: Leslie Capo
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

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