Anna Piotrowska-Murzyn, PhD

Anna Piotrowska-Murzyn, PhD

More publications
  • PRELUDIUM 12 2016/23/N/NZ7/00356 Determination of the mechanisms and potential targets for neuropathic pain therapy by investigating pharmacological interactions occurring between substances that modulates glial cells activity and opioid analgesics. - 2017-08-17 - 2020-08-16
    PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH: Currently used methods of treating neuropathic pain are unsatisfactory. Establishing an effective therapy which could improve the quality of life of those who suffer from this kind of pain remains a huge challenge. Despite many years of research in this field, the mechanism of formation and maintenance of neuropathic pain is still not fully understood. Recent studies, including ours, indicate that glia are the cells which play a vital role in the development of neuropathy. The aim of the proposed project is a thorough examination the role of GPCRs such as chemokine/opioid receptors located on the surface of glial cells. Moreover, we would like to analyze the changes in the level of endogenous factors which initiate and regulate the development of neuropathy and which occur as a consequence of the sciatic nerve damage. Importantly, we are planning to use primary cultures of microglia and astrocytes, which will hopefully provide us with a better understanding of the role of these cells in the pathology of pain. A biochemical analysis will be conducted in vivo and in vitro. These tests will allow us to determine the changes in the level of receptors (CCR5, CXCR3, μ) and algesic mediators (e.g. CCL2-5,11,13,21, CXCL4,9-11, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-18) which contribute to the formation of neuropathic pain as well as endogenous analgesic mediators (IL-1RA, IL-18BP, IL-10). In addition, the project will involve the pharmacological pain modulation by the use of antagonists of chemokine receptors and inhibitors of intracellular pathways (p38MAPK, ERK1/2 among others) and the evaluation of their analgesic activity as well as the effect on the balance between pro- and anti-nociceptive factors. Minocycline, maraviroc and parthenolide are now used in the clinic, but not in the treatment of neuropathic pain. Their incorporation in our research can provide new evidence for their therapeutic effects. We are also planning to combine the administration of conventionally used analgesic opioids (for example tramadol) with selected immunomodulatory substances characterized by the highest analgesic potential. This can contribute to the establishing of foundations for a new and effective combination therapy of neuropathic pain. The results obtained in the research will bring a better understanding of the neuroimmunological bases of the formation of neuropathic pain. On the other hand, the results will enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of pharmacological substances used in relieving pain.RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS:1. In a rat/mouse model of neuropathic pain: 1.1 Chemokine receptor antagonists and inhibitors of intracellular pathways reduce pain by restoring the balance between pro- and anti-nociceptive factors. 1.2 Combined administration of opioid receptor agonist and chemokine receptor antagonist produces a synergistic analgesic effect. 1.3 Microglial cells and astrocytes are the source of the investigated nociceptive factors, therefore they are the target of pharmacological modulation. 2. In a primary culture of microglia and/or astrocytes: Pharmacological modulation of chemokine receptors and intracellular pathways important in nociception will enable us to understand their role and determine their impact on the effects of opioids. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: Animals: All experiments will be conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Animal Research Ethics Committee of the Institute of Pharmacology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow. Model of neuropathic pain (Bennett model): Unilateral loose ligation of the sciatic nerve in rats and/or mice. Administration of studied compounds: Intraperitoneal/subarachnoid administration of substances such as antagonists of chemokine receptors, inhibitors of intracellular pathways, agonist of opioid receptors: tramadol). Behavioral tests: Von Frey and cold plate tests. Biochemical tests: RNA Analysis: qRT-PCR. Protein analysis: Western blot/ELISA/Protein microarrays/Immunohistochemistry. Cell cultures: Primary cultures of microglia and/or astroglia. IMPACT OF THE RESULTS: According to the International Association for the Study of Pain IASP, one in five Europeans suffers from chronic pain. Symptoms which accompany the pain contribute to a significant deterioration of the quality of life. Therefore, development of an effective method of treatment is such an important issue. Defining the role of a number of immunological factors which are released during the development of neuropathy by glial cells will allow us to understand its pathomechanism and expand our knowledge in this field. Suggested research focuses on microglia and astrocytes, which have been recently recognized as important modulators of nociception. The results obtained in the project will complement the knowledge on the effects of analgesic drugs such as minocycline, parthenolide and maraviroc which are used in the clinic, but not in the treatment of neuropathy. Moreover, the use of new substances such as CXCR3 antagonist will contribute to the understanding of mechanisms conditioning the generation and maintenance of neuropathic pain. Combined administrations of analgesic opioids, which are currently used in the clinic, along with substances blocking the activity of glial cells via their receptors or intracellular pathways, can increase the efficiency of these opioids. This may result in enhancing the quality of life of patients suffering from neuropathic pain. Therefore, it seems that the pharmacological modulation of glia is a new and promising therapeutic approach in the treatment of a painful neuropathy.
  • Scientific award of L’Oréal Unesco For Women In Science
  • START Scholarship Foundation for Polish Science (FNP)
  • scholarship for outstanding scientific achievements awarded by President of the Polish Academy of Sciences