Relationships between brain metabolite levels, functional connectivity, and negative mood in urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome patients compared to controls: A MAPP research network study.
ABSTRACT: Until recently, the predominant pathology of chronic pelvic pain conditions was thought to reside in the peripheral tissues. However, mounting evidence from neuroimaging studies suggests an important role of the central nervous system in the pathogenesis of these conditions. In the present cross-sectional study, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) of the brain was conducted in female patients with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS) to determine if they exhibit abnormal concentrations of brain metabolites (e.g. those indicative of heightened excitatory tone) in regions involved in the processing and modulation of pain, including the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the anterior and posterior insular cortices. Compared to a group of age-matched healthy subjects, there were significantly higher levels of choline (p = 0.006, uncorrected) in the ACC of UCPPS patients. ACC choline levels were therefore compared with the region's resting functional connectivity to the rest of the brain. Higher choline was associated with greater ACC-to-limbic system connectivity in UCPPS patients, contrasted with lower connectivity in controls (i.e. an interaction). In patients, ACC choline levels were also positively correlated with negative mood. ACC ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels were lower in UCPPS patients compared with controls (p = 0.02, uncorrected), but this did not meet statistical correction for the 4 separate regional comparisons of metabolites. These results are the first to uncover abnormal GABA and choline levels in the brain of UCPPS patients compared to controls. Low GABA levels have been identified in other pain syndromes and might contribute to CNS hyper-excitability in these conditions. The relationships between increased ACC choline levels, ACC-to-limbic connectivity, and negative mood in UCPPS patients suggest that this metabolite could be related to the affective symptomatology of this syndrome.
Project description:Chronic pain is often measured with a severity score that overlooks its spatial distribution across the body. This widespread pain is believed to be a marker of centralization, a central nervous system process that decouples pain perception from nociceptive input. Here, we investigated whether centralization is manifested at the level of the brain using data from 1079 participants in the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain Research Network (MAPP) study. Participants with a clinical diagnosis of urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS) were compared to pain-free controls and patients with fibromyalgia, the prototypical centralized pain disorder. Participants completed questionnaires capturing pain severity, function, and a body map of pain. A subset (UCPPS N = 110; fibromyalgia N = 23; healthy control N = 49) underwent functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging. Patients with UCPPS reported pain ranging from localized (pelvic) to widespread (throughout the body). Patients with widespread UCPPS displayed increased brain gray matter volume and functional connectivity involving sensorimotor and insular cortices (P < 0.05 corrected). These changes translated across disease diagnoses as identical outcomes were present in patients with fibromyalgia but not pain-free controls. Widespread pain was also associated with reduced physical and mental function independent of pain severity. Brain pathology in patients with centralized pain is related to pain distribution throughout the body. These patients may benefit from interventions targeting the central nervous system.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The underlying neurobiological mechanism for abnormal functional connectivity in schizophrenia (SCZ) remains unknown. This project investigated whether glutamate and GABA, 2 metabolites that contribute to excitatory and inhibitory functions, may influence functional connectivity in SCZ. METHODS:Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy were acquired from 58 SCZ patients and 61 healthy controls (HC). Seed-based connectivity maps were extracted between the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) spectroscopic voxel and all other brain voxels. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) spectra were processed to quantify glutamate and GABA levels. Regression analysis was performed to describe relationships between functional connectivity and glutamate and GABA levels. RESULTS:Reduced ACC functional connectivity in SCZ was found in regions associated with several neural networks including the default mode network (DMN) compared to HC. In the HC, positive correlations were found between glutamate and both ACC-right inferior frontal gyrus functional connectivity and ACC-bilateral superior temporal gyrus functional connectivity. A negative correlation between GABA and ACC-left posterior cingulate functional connectivity was also observed in HC. These same relationships were not statistically significant in SCZ. CONCLUSIONS:The present investigation is one of the first studies to examine links between functional connectivity and glutamate and GABA levels in SCZ. Results indicate that glutamate and GABA play an important role in the functional connectivity modulation in the healthy brain. The absence of glutamate and GABA correlations in areas where SCZ showed significantly reduced functional connectivity may suggest that this chemical-functional relationship is disrupted in SCZ.
Project description:Studies have suggested chronic pain syndromes are associated with neural reorganization in specific regions associated with perception, processing, and integration of pain. Urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS) represents a collection of pain syndromes characterized by pelvic pain, namely Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS) and Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome (IC/PBS), that are both poorly understood in their pathophysiology, and treated ineffectively. We hypothesized patients with UCPPS may have microstructural differences in the brain compared with healthy control subjects (HCs), as well as patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common gastrointestinal pain disorder. In the current study we performed population-based voxel-wise DTI and super-resolution track density imaging (TDI) in a large, two-center sample of phenotyped patients from the multicenter cohort with UCPPS (N = 45), IBS (N = 39), and HCs (N = 56) as part of the MAPP Research Network. Compared with HCs, UCPPS patients had lower fractional anisotropy (FA), lower generalized anisotropy (GA), lower track density, and higher mean diffusivity (MD) in brain regions commonly associated with perception and integration of pain information. Results also showed significant differences in specific anatomical regions in UCPPS patients when compared with IBS patients, consistent with microstructural alterations specific to UCPPS. While IBS patients showed clear sex related differences in FA, MD, GA, and track density consistent with previous reports, few such differences were observed in UCPPS patients. Heat maps illustrating the correlation between specific regions of interest and various pain and urinary symptom scores showed clustering of significant associations along the cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic-cortical loop associated with pain integration, modulation, and perception. Together, results suggest patients with UCPPS have extensive microstructural differences within the brain, many specific to syndrome UCPPS versus IBS, that appear to be localized to regions associated with perception and integration of sensory information and pain modulation, and seem to be a consequence of longstanding pain.
Project description:Urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS), which encompasses interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is characterized by chronic pain in the pelvic region or genitalia that is often accompanied by urinary frequency and urgency. Despite considerable research, no definite aetiological risk factors or effective treatments have been identified. The Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network uses a novel integrated strategy to characterize UCPPS as a systemic disorder that potentially involves multiple aetiologies. The first phase, MAPP I, included >1,000 participants who completed an intensive baseline assessment followed by a 12-month observational follow-up period. MAPP I studies showed that UCPPS pain and urinary symptoms co-vary, with only moderate correlation, and should be evaluated separately and that symptom flares are common and can differ considerably in intensity, duration and influence on quality of life. Longitudinal clinical changes in UCPPS correlated with structural and functional brain changes, and many patients experienced global multisensory hypersensitivity. Additionally, UCPPS symptom profiles were distinguishable by biological correlates, such as immune factors. These findings indicate that patients with UCPPS have objective phenotypic abnormalities and distinct biological characteristics, providing a new foundation for the study and clinical management of UCPPS.
Project description:Clinical phenotyping of urological chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPSs) in men and women have focused on end organ abnormalities to identify putative clinical subtypes. Initial evidence of abnormal brain function and structure in male pelvic pain has necessitated large-scale, multisite investigations into potential UCPPS brain biomarkers. We present the first evidence of regional white matter (axonal) abnormalities in men and women with UCPPS, compared with positive (irritable bowel syndrome, IBS) and healthy controls. Epidemiological and neuroimaging data were collected from participants with UCPPS (n = 52), IBS (n = 39), and healthy sex- and age-matched controls (n = 61). White matter microstructure, measured as fractional anisotropy (FA), was examined by diffusion tensor imaging. Group differences in regional FA positively correlated with pain severity, including segments of the right corticospinal tract and right anterior thalamic radiation. Increased corticospinal FA was specific and sensitive to UCPPS, positively correlated with pain severity, and reflected sensory (not affective) features of pain. Reduced anterior thalamic radiation FA distinguished patients with IBS from those with UCPPS and controls, suggesting greater microstructural divergence from normal tract organization. Findings confirm that regional white matter abnormalities characterize UCPPS and can distinguish between visceral diagnoses, suggesting that regional axonal microstructure is either altered with ongoing pain or predisposes its development.
Project description:To determine the extent, severity, and sex differences of psychosocial deficits in men and women with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPS), which in the past have been considered separate bladder (interstitial cystitis-painful bladder syndrome) and prostate (chronic prostatitis-chronic pelvic pain syndrome) disorders. Evaluations of men and women separately suggest UCPPS is associated with increased anxiety and depression. However, studies directly testing deficits in broader psychosocial domains such as cognitive processes, intimate relationships, and trauma history, or tests of sex differences in the pattern of difficulties associated with UCPPS have not been performed.A total of 233 female and 191 male UCPPS patients and 235 female and 182 male healthy controls (HCs) were recruited from 6 academic medical centers in the United States and evaluated with a comprehensive battery of symptom, psychosocial, and illness impact measures. Primary comparisons of interest were between UCPPS patients and HCs and between men and women with UCPPS.In addition to greater negative effect, male and female UCPPS patients show higher levels of current and lifetime stress, poorer illness coping, increased self-report of cognitive deficits, and more widespread pain symptoms compared with sex- and education-matched HCs. Similar problems were found in male and female UCPPS patients although female UCPPS patients showed increased self-report of childhood adversity and more widespread symptoms of pain and discomfort.Given the significance of psychosocial variables in prognosis and treatment of chronic pain conditions, the results add substantially to our understanding of the breath of difficulties associated with UCPPS and point to important areas for clinical assessment.
Project description:Experimental pain sensitivity was assessed in individuals with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS) as part of the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network. A series of computer-controlled pressure stimuli were delivered to the thumbnail bed, an asymptomatic site distant from the area of UCPPS pain that is considered to be indicative of overall body pain threshold. Stimuli were rated according to a standardized magnitude estimation protocol. Pain sensitivity in participants with UCPPS was compared with healthy controls and a mixed pain group composed of individuals with other chronic overlapping pain conditions, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and irritable bowel syndromes. Data from 6 participating MAPP testing sites were pooled for analysis. Participants with UCPPS (n = 153) exhibited an intermediate pain sensitivity phenotype: they were less sensitive relative to the mixed pain group (n = 35) but significantly more sensitive than healthy controls (n = 100). Increased pain sensitivity in patients with UCPPS was associated with both higher levels of clinical pain severity and more painful body areas outside the pelvic region. Exploratory analyses in participants with UCPPS revealed that pain sensitivity increased during periods of urologic symptom flare and that less pressure pain sensitivity at baseline was associated with a greater likelihood of subsequent genitourinary pain improvement 1 year later. The finding that individuals with UCPPS demonstrate nonpelvic pain hypersensitivity that is related to clinical symptoms suggests that central nervous system mechanisms of pain amplification contribute to UCPPS.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To characterize the functional brain changes involved in ?-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) modulation of chronic neuropathic pain. METHODS:Fifteen patients with chronic radicular neuropathic pain participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial employing a counterbalanced, within-subjects design. Pain assessments and functional resting state brain scans were performed at baseline and after sublingual THC administration. We examined functional connectivity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and pain-related network dynamics using graph theory measures. RESULTS:THC significantly reduced patients' pain compared to placebo. THC-induced analgesia was correlated with a reduction in functional connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the sensorimotor cortex. Moreover, the degree of reduction was predictive of the response to THC. Graph theory analyses of local measures demonstrated reduction in network connectivity in areas involved in pain processing, and specifically in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which were correlated with individual pain reduction. CONCLUSION:These results suggest that the ACC and DLPFC, 2 major cognitive-emotional modulation areas, and their connections to somatosensory areas, are functionally involved in the analgesic effect of THC in chronic pain. This effect may therefore be mediated through induction of functional disconnection between regulatory high-order affective regions and the sensorimotor cortex. Moreover, baseline functional connectivity between these brain areas may serve as a predictor for the extent of pain relief induced by THC.
Project description:To examine a series of candidate markers for urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS), selected based on their proposed involvement in underlying biological processes so as to provide new insights into pathophysiology and suggest targets for expanded clinical and mechanistic studies.Baseline urine samples from Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network study participants with UCPPS (n = 259), positive controls (PCs; chronic pain without pelvic pain, n = 107) and healthy controls (HCs, n = 125) were analysed for the presence of proteins that are suggested in the literature to be associated with UCPPS. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, MMP-9, MMP-9/neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) complex (also known as Lipocalin 2), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), VEGF receptor 1 (VEGF-R1) and NGAL were assayed and quantitated using mono-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for each protein. Log-transformed concentration (pg/mL or ng/mL) and concentration normalized to total protein (pg/?g) values were compared among the UCPPS, PC and HC groups within sex using the Student's t-test, with P values adjusted for multiple comparisons. Multivariable logistic regression and receiver-operating characteristic curves assessed the utility of the biomarkers in distinguishing participants with UCPPS and control participants. Associations of protein with symptom severity were assessed by linear regression.Significantly higher normalized concentrations (pg/?g) of VEGF, VEGF-R1 and MMP-9 in men and VEGF concentration (pg/mL) in women were associated with UCPPS vs HC. These proteins provided only marginal discrimination between UCPPS participants and HCs. In men with UCCPS, pain severity was significantly positively associated with concentrations of MMP-9 and MMP-9/NGAL complex, and urinary severity was significantly positively associated with MMP-9, MMP-9/NGAL complex and VEGF-R1. In women with UCPPS, pain and urinary symptom severity were associated with increased normalized concentrations of MMP-9/NGAL complex, while pain severity alone was associated with increased normalized concentrations of VEGF, and urinary severity alone was associated with increased normalized concentrations of MMP-2. Pain severity in women with UCPPS was significantly positively associated with concentrations of all biomarkers except NGAL, and urinary severity with all concentrations except VEGF-R1.Altered levels of MMP-9, MMP-9/NGAL complex and VEGF-R1 in men, and all biomarkers in women, were associated with clinical symptoms of UCPPS. None of the evaluated candidate markers usefully discriminated UCPPS patients from controls. Elevated VEGF, MMP-9 and VEGF-R1 levels in men and VEGF levels in women may provide potential new insights into the pathophysiology of UCPPS.
Project description:Among the most common chronic pain conditions, yet poorly understood, are temporomandibular disorders (TMDs), with a prevalence estimate of 3-15% for Western populations. Although it is increasingly acknowledged that central nervous system mechanisms contribute to pain amplification and chronicity in TMDs, further research is needed to unravel neural correlates that might abet the development of chronic pain.The insular cortex (IC) and cingulate cortex (CC) are both critically involved in the experience of pain. The current study sought specifically to investigate IC-CC functional connectivity in TMD patients and healthy controls (HCs), both during resting state and during the application of a painful stimulus.Eight patients with TMD, and 8 age- and sex-matched HCs were enrolled in the present study. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data during resting state and during the performance of a pressure pain stimulus to the temple were acquired. Predefined seed regions were placed in the IC (anterior and posterior insular cortices) and the extracted signal was correlated with brain activity throughout the whole brain. Specifically, we were interested whether TMD patients and HCs would show differences in IC-CC connectivity, both during resting state and during the application of a painful stimulus to the face.As a main finding, functional connectivity analyses revealed an increased functional connectivity between the left anterior IC and pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in TMD patients, during both resting state and applied pressure pain. Within the patient group, there was a negative correlation between the anterior IC-ACC connectivity and clinical pain intensity as measured by a visual analog scale.Since the pregenual region of the ACC is critically involved in antinociception, we hypothesize that an increase in anterior IC-ACC connectivity is indicative of an adaptation of the pain modulatory system early in the chronification process.