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Papers of the Week

Papers: 26 Nov 2022 - 2 Dec 2022

2022 Nov 23

J Pain

Reproducible Microstructural Changes in the Brain Associated with the Presence and Severity of Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (UCPPS): A 3-year Longitudinal Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study from the MAPP Network.


Microstructural alterations have been reported in patients with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS). However, it isn't clear whether these alterations are reproducible within 6 months or whether long-term symptom improvement is associated with specific microstructural changes. Using data from the MAPP-II Research Network, the current study performed population-based voxel-wise DTI and probabilistic tractography in a large sample of participants from the multicenter cohort with UCPPS (N=364) and healthy controls (HCs, N=61) over 36 months. While fractional anisotropy (FA) differences between UCPPS patients and HCs were observed to be unique at baseline and 6-month follow-up visits, consistent aberrations in mean diffusivity (MD) were observed between UCPPS and HCs at baseline and repeated at 6 months. Additionally, compared to HCs, UCPPS patients showed stronger structural connectivity (SC) between the left postcentral gyrus and the left precuneus, and weaker SC from the left cuneus to the left lateral occipital cortex and the isthmus of the left cingulate cortex at baseline and 6-month. By 36 months, reduced FA and MD aberrations in these same regions were associated with symptom improvement in UCPPS. Together, results suggest changes in white matter microstructure may play a role in the persistent pain symptoms in UCPPS.