Voelcker Academy

Research Symposium 2012


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Christopher A. Herrera

Inflammatory Regulation of Neprilysin

Christopher A. Herrera

Mentor(s): Nathaniel A. Jeske, PhD

Neprilysin is a zinc metalloendopeptidase that plays an important role in turning off peptide signaling at the cell surface. One such peptide substrate, enkepahlin, serves to reduce nociceptor activation, thereby reducing pain. However, during inflammatory injury, multiple mechanisms cooperate to increase peripheral pain. One such mechanism involves an increase in bradykinin (BK) which may affect NEP expression at the cell surface. We hypothesize that BK stimulates an increase in NEP expression and activity in nociceptors that innervate peripheral tissues. We will monitor NEP expression by Western blot analysis and immunocytochemistry, and will measure NEP activity by using a commercially available enzymatic fluorescent assay. Research from this work will identify a new and potentially significant target for the development of peripheral inflammatory analgesics. Furthermore, results from this work will support studies that focus on the pharmacological significance of opiorphan, and endogenous NEP expression produced in the human saliva.