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Morphological changes in nociceptors in human patients with Small Fiber Neuropathy (SFN)
Denmark (IMCC) - Aarhus university, Aarhus
Aarhus University Hospital. Stereology. Pathology Research. Krydsfelt C104, plan 1. Palle Juul Jensens Boulevard 99, 8200 Aarhus N
DPRC: Troels S. Jensen; Stereology: Jens R. Nyengaard
Pall Karlsson, senior researcher
English, Danish, Icelandic
Type of Research Project
- Clinical Project with Laboratory work
What is the background of the project?
The project is focused on neuropathy. Around 50% of all diabetic patients develop some degree of neuropathy, so this is a big group of the patients we see in the clinic. Typical symptoms include burning and pricking pain, sensory loss and more. The diagnosis is determined upon neurological examination, nerve conduction studies, quantitative sensory testing and a skin biopsy from the distal leg. Sections from the biopsies are immunostained with an antibody that enables us to visualize the sensory nerve fibers (the nociceptors, who are responsible for heat- and pain sensation) and do morphological and quantitative analysis on them. 90% of the patients have a significant loss of the fibers. These biopsies, together with the quantitative sensory testing and other testing on the patients are a very large portion of my research.
What is the aim of the project?
We are looking for changes in the nerve fibers that can explain the symptoms. Why do some patients suffer from extreme pain while others do not, and why do some patients have sensory loss while others do not.
What techniques and methods are used?
I have a lot of skin biopsies from these patients that need to be analyzed. Both with traditional staining methods, but I am also trying out new antibodies that may well be relevant for these patients, but I am trying to link the structure of the nerve fibers with their functionality (the sensory testing is an example of a functional measure, while the skin biopsy analysis is a structural/morphological measure). Some of the main methods include: Immunihistochemistry Light microscopy Fluoroscence microscopy Stereology (cutting and sampling of tissue, stereological quantification) Neurological examination of patients
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will be tought the methods during the first week. After that, the student is expeceted to be able to work independently but still ask for assistance when in doubt. In the beginning of the work, we will sit down and design the exact proejct together and which methods will be used, depending on what is needed when the student arrives and what the student is interested in.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Yes, a few papers to read prior to start and I will give an introduction to the disease on the first day.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Interest in neurology is a plus, but most imporantly being passionate about clinical research of human patients
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Depending on how well the student does, he or she may be offered to be a co-author on a paper that will be published. This cannot be guaranteed, but may be possible if the student is interested. In that case, the student is expected to contribute to the writing process later on.
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
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