The cells that make up the majority of the epidermis, keratinocytes, have recently been shown to be crucial for the sensation of painful and non-painful touch. However, little has been done on investigating their role in thermal sensation. Thermosensation is critical for everyday activities, as it protects us from burning our hands on a hot cup of coffee. However, most research has focused on how our neurons are involved in this process. In my research, I am investigating the communication mechanism between keratinocytes and sensory neurons in response to thermal stimulation.
Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying migraine pain
Almost 5 million people in the United States experience at least one migraine attack per month, with a higher prevalence in females (~70%) than in males. Migraines are extremely debilitating and studies report that as many as 90% of people report that they need to miss work or cannot function normally during an attack. Migraines are characterized by throbbing, pulsating pain typically on one side of the head, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity and often nausea. Until May of 2018 there were no preventative treatments for migraines. Additionally, the mechanism that causes a migraine headache is still poorly understood, although changes in blood volume flow have been suggested. Therefore, I am investigating if trigeminal ganglia sensory neurons become altered in the state of a migraine and if this could lead to the headaches experienced by patients.
Francie recently defended her dissertation titled “contribution of skin keratinocytes to mechanical and thermal sensation”. For her dissertation, Francie was awarded the outstanding dissertation award from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Francie was chosen to present a datablitz and was selected as the pest basic science poster presenter at the American Pain Society meeting in Anaheim, CA.
Moehring, F*., Waas, M*, Keppel, TR., Rathore. D., Cowie, AM., Stucky, CL., and Gundry, RL. Quantitative top down mass spectrometry identifies proteoforms differentially secreted during mechanical stimulation of mouse skin. Journal of Proteome Research. (2018). doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.8b00109. *co-first authors
Cowie, AM., Moehring, F., O’Hara, C., and Stucky, CL. Brief optogenetic silencing of CGRPα-expressing sensory neurons alleviates neuropathic pain behavior, whereas inhibition of CGRP signaling alleviates postoperative pain behavior. Journal of neuroscience. (2018). doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3565-17.2018.
Miller JJ*., Aoki, K*., Moehring, F*., Murphy, CA., O’Hara CL., Tiemeyer, M., Stucky, CL., Dahms, NM. Neuropathic pain in Fabry disease rat model. JCI insight. (2018) doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.99171. *co-first authors
Moehring, F., Cowie AM., Menzel, A., Weyer AD., Grzybowski, M., Geurts, A., Palygin O., and Stucky, CL. Keratinocytes mediate innocuous and noxious touch via ATP-P2X4 signaling, eLife (2018), doi:10.7554/eLife.31684
Zappia, K., O’Hara C., Moehring, F., Kwan K., Stucky, CL., Sensory neuron-specific deletion of TRPA1 results in mechanical cutaneous sensory deficits. eNeuro (2017), doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0069-16.2017
Huckenpahler AL., Wilk MA., Cooper RF., Moehring F., Link BA., Carroll J., Collery RF., Imaging the adult zebrafish cone mosaic using optical coherence tomography, Visual neuroscience (2016), doi: 10.1017/S0952523816000092
Moehring F., O’Hara CL., Stucky CL., Bedding material affects mechanical thresholds, heat thresholds and texture preference, Journal of Pain (2015), doi: 10.1016/ j.jpain.2015.08.014