Chronic pelvic pain is especially common in women, with one in seven American women affected. It is often associated with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Sylvia Suadicani, Ph.D., and David Spray, Ph.D., have received a 5-year, $3.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to better understand how transient pelvic pain progresses to persistent, chronic pain. In previous studies, Drs. Suadicani and Spray have focused on the dorsal root ganglia (DRG)—sensory nerves that innervate pelvic organs—and their interaction with satellite glial cells (SGCs) that surround individual neurons of the DRG. Evidence suggests that activation of SGCs due to aberrant signaling from DRG neurons plays a leading role in causing and maintaining pelvic pain. In proposed studies using animal models, the researchers will investigate whether key molecular signaling mediators—gap junctions and the P2X7R-Panx1 functional complex—are responsible for the pathologically enhanced neuron-SGC signaling that leads to pelvic pain. The findings may reveal novel therapeutic targets for preventing or treating pelvic pain.
Dr. Suadicani is professor of urology and of molecular pharmacology at Einstein. Dr. Spray is professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience and of medicine at Einstein. (1R01DK138832-01)
Posted on: Friday, December 15, 2023