The studies will attempt to learn about possible subtypes with different comorbidities by conducting "pain mapping" – and much more.
The University Iowa’s Department of Urology will be recruiting interstitial cystitis (IC) patients for several studies, funded by a five-year $4.8 million NIH grant. The program is part of the NIH’s broader $37.5 million, eight-university collaborative project to find the causes of IC. Interstitial cystitis is a painful bladder condition involving excessively frequent urination. It affects some 1.3 million men and women in the U.S.
Is IC a ‘Total Body Condition’?
"We're looking at systems of inflammatory regulation. The goal of it is more about possible subtypes of interstitial cystitis that will really help us in treatment, that you can't lump this group with this group," stated principal investigator Dr. Karl Kreder, MD, in a report by the Des Moines Register.
By subtypes, Dr. Kreder is referring to IC patients with bladder symptoms who also have other conditions – including notably irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and fibromyalgia – and distinct biological characteristics.
“The bladder was assumed to be the origin of the interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome symptoms and the prostate was assumed to be the source of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome symptoms,” explains collaborative director Dr. Leroy Nyberg. "However, in spite of intense study funded by NIDDK [National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases], no organ-specific cause has been identified for either disorder."
The U of Iowa Studies Will Include:
1. A project focused on the epidemiology of interstitial cystitis and attempting to categorize it by “pain mapping” – led by Catherine Bradley, MD, UI associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
2. A study examining the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis, which helps regulate temperature, the immune system, mood, sexuality, and energy, as well as reactions to stress and injury – led by Susan Lutgendorf, PhD, professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
3. An examination of brain pathways that may govern painful syndromes, led by Satish Rao, MD, PhD, UI professor of internal medicine.
4. A study to examine how certain bladder factors may predispose a person to interstitial cystitis - led by Michael O'Donnell, MD, UI professor of urology.
5. A project to develop animal models that mimic the disorder, led by Yi Luo, PhD, UI assistant professor of urology.