Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Seminar


“Evaluating Pain and Joint Dysfunction in Small Animal Models of Musculoskeletal Pathology”


Dr. Kyle Allen


Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina


Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 11:00:00 AM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Robert Guldberg


Pain and disability scales have proven critical for verifying the efficacy of clinical therapies for musculoskeletal pathologies in patients. However, few reliable analogues of pain and disability exist for pre-clinical models, despite the important role that these models play in translating research innovation to clinical treatment. Clearly, animals can’t describe their pain or dysfunction, but by quantitatively assessing animal activity and movement, we can improve the therapeutic evaluation of emerging drugs, indentify behaviors that associate with either acute injury or chronic pain, and establish links between joint-associated pain and the catabolic destruction of joint structures. Our work has shown measures of pain sensitivity and joint dysfunction in small animals correspond to musculoskeletal pathology, including osteoarthritis, intervertebral disc degenerations, and lumbar radiculopathy. Moreover, these same measures can be used to reflect a symptomatic progression of pathology from acute injury to chronic pain and to evaluate the therapeutic benefit of local drug delivery strategies. In this talk, I will describe our progress on evaluating pain-related behaviors and joint dysfunction that correspond to spontaneous degeneration of cartilage, inflammatory-mediated joint destruction, and surgically-induced injury, as well as our ability to reverse these symptoms with local delivery of anti-inflammatory agents.