Investigations of the structural and functional changes in the peripheral sensory neurons in diabetes
Diabetic neuropathy comprises a wide spectrum of symptoms, such as tingling, intense burning sensation and heat hypersensitivity and paradoxically, it is also associated with loss of pain perception and numbness. Although it is well described that neuropathic pain symptoms in diabetes are attributed to the structural and functional alterations of neural circuits within the peripheral and central nervous system, very little is known regarding the specific type of nerve fibres involved in generating these symptoms in diabetes. Importantly, the cellular and molecular determinants leading to the establishment of diabetic neuropathy are largely unknown.
The junior research group preclinical diabetic neuropathy is interested in investigating the structural and functional changes in the peripheral sensory neurons in diabetes using a variety of techniques including extracellular recording from peripheral nerves and behavioural analyses in combination with optogenetic/chemogenetic silencing of specific peripheral nerve fibers in vivo. Furthermore, the group aims to uncover the cellular and molecular changes that occur in the peripheral nervous system in diabetes employing a combination of biochemical, molecular and imaging (confocal and electron microscopy) techniques in various diabetic mouse models.
Using 3D electron microscopy, this group is exploring the ultrastructural alterations in peripheral nerve endings in the skin and pathological circuitry changes in the spinal dorsal horn in diabetes.