Bartonella henselae Infection in Sickle Cell Disease Mice Is Associated with Hyperalgesia

Amanda R. De Almeida, Gislaine Vieira-Damiani, Marilene N. Da Silva, Bruno G. Lania, Tânia C.B. Soares, Marina R. Drummond, Karina De A. Lins, Marna E. Ericson, Kalpna Gupta, Paulo Eduardo N.F. Velho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most prevalent hematologic genetic disorder. Acute vaso-occlusive painful crisis is the hallmark of the disease and may be related to subclinical infections. Bartonellosis, a rare and neglected infection, is caused by Bartonella spp., which can be found in donated blood. These bacteria cause intraerythrocytic and endothelial infection and pain, all of which occur in SCD. It is likely that this infection is transmitted to SCD patients during transfusion from donated blood, leading to pain. We, therefore, evaluated whether Bartonella henselae infection would cause hyperalgesia in mice with SCD. Materials and Methods: SCD mice were generated by transplantation of nucleated bone marrow cells harvested from transgenic Berkeley sickle mice into 2-month-old irradiated C57BL/6 mice. We infected four SCD mice by intraperitoneal inoculation with B. henselae, and inoculated four other mice with the same volume of saline. Mechanical hyperalgesia was determined using von Frey monofilaments by two blinded observers. Thereafter, the animals were anesthetized and euthanized to collect blood, liver, and spleen samples to seek B. henselae infection by PCR. Findings: We confirmed the experimental infection in all animals by PCR. Tremors and mechanical hypersensitivity were demonstrated by SCD mice infected with B. henselae infection but not in those receiving saline. Conclusion: B. henselae infection may be related to pain and other symptoms in SCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-105
Number of pages4
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.


  • Bartonella
  • hyperalgesia
  • infection
  • infectious disease vectors
  • sickle cell disease


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