Angela Henderson-Redmond, PhD
The majority of my research career has been focused on the genetic and neurobiological pathways mediating the rewarding effects of, as well as sensitivity and tolerance development to, various drugs of abuse. That said, my current research is currently focused on looking at cannabinoids as alternatives to opiates in the management of chronic, non-malignant pain. In particular, along with Dr. Morgan, I have been focusing on how various agonist acting at the cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) and/or type-2 (CB2) receptors may differentially mediate tolerance development and pain responses across different pain modalities. Together, Dr. Morgan and I have been examining how interfering with desensitization of the CB1 receptor in genetically altered, desensitization-resistant (S426A/S430A) mice can alter both sensitivity and tolerance development to ∆9-THC with a particular emphasis on chronic pain models, including clinically relevant models of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy as well as chronic constriction injury (CCI). Further, given that women comprise a greater proportion of the clinical population presenting with chronic pain, it is essential to understand how sex mediates differences both in how pain in processed, and more importantly, how it is managed. In particular, I am interested in using transgenic mouse models to better understand how manipulation of various receptors such as CB1R and CB2R, can differentially affect males and females and how these differences may be further modulated by alterations in sex hormones across the life cycle. Better understanding of how tolerance to cannabinoids is mediated as well as how alterations in sex hormones across age in both males and females can mediate analgesic outcomes to various types of pain (acute, inflammatory, and chronic, neuropathic pain), will hopefully enable the clinical development of more efficacious, diverse, non-opioid alternatives for the management of chronic pain.