Relieving the pain of peripheral arterial disease

July 19, 2018

By Jan Jarvis

Eric Gonzales

Dr. Eric Gonzales

Liu Jin

Dr. Jin Liu

For someone with peripheral arterial disease – a condition that causes narrowing of arteries in the limbs – pain is a big problem.

“The treatment for it is exercise,” said Eric Gonzales, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Education in the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine, which is pending accreditation. “But you can’t exercise if you’re in extreme pain.”

Relief could be in a class of proteins that is found in virtually all cells in the body. In a study recently published in Nature Communications, Dr. Gonzales and Dr. Jin Liu, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the UNT System College of Pharmacy, examine acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) and their role as mediators of pain, with the help of super computers.

“Their sole role is to sense changes in acidity,” Dr. Gonzales said.

As pH changes within the human body, ASICs sense these changes and convey signals that alter cellular responses. Additionally, calcium can modify how the ASIC3 protein responds to changes in acidity. In the recently published study, the team identified a single amino acid within the ASIC3 protein that is responsible for this calcium sensitivity.

The discovery could one day lead to new therapies that relieve pain, which would make it possible for people with peripheral arterial disease to exercise again.

 

 

B3f0263.jpg
HSC researcher, colleagues investigate intersections of COVID-19, TB control and global economics among immigrant communities

By Sally Crocker  The world’s attention has been laser focused on COVID-19 for months, but the current pandemic isn’t an isolated problem threatening the health of communities, says one HSC public health researcher.   “Many other infectious diseases, like tuberculosis, share s...Read more

Aug 5, 2020

Dr. April Enard with students
TCOM grad creates scholarship to increase minorities in medicine  

By Steven Bartolotta Dr. April Enard knows the statistics are bad. In the United States, the percentage of active African American physicians is at a meager five percent. That's why Dr. Enard, a 2011 Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine alum, has made it her mission to change that figur...Read more

Aug 4, 2020

Dr. Joon Lee
HSC expert warns of possible increase in West Nile virus human cases

By Diane Smith West Nile virus activities in this year’s mosquito population are higher than 2016 when Tarrant County experienced 27 West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease cases, said Joon-Hak Lee, PhD, Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at The University of North Texas Health S...Read more

Aug 3, 2020

Rep. Charlie Geren Fc
50 Heroes: Rep. Charlie Geren 

Rep. Charlie Geren has championed HSC for almost two decades.  First elected to the Texas House of Representatives District 99 in November 2000, he has advocated tirelessly for the university, its students and programs, and the many benefits HSC brings to Fort Worth.  Rep. Geren ...Read more

Aug 3, 2020