ABSTRACT: Research into the pathophysiology of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome has primarily focused on markers of peripheral dysfunction. We present the first neuroimaging investigation to our knowledge to characterize brain function and anatomy in chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
We collected data from 19 male patients with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and 16 healthy age and gender matched controls. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were obtained from 14 patients with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome as they rated spontaneous pain inside the scanner. Group differences (16 patients per group) in gray matter total volume and regional density were evaluated using voxel-based morphometry, and white matter integrity was studied with diffusion tensor imaging to measure fractional anisotropy. Functional and anatomical imaging outcomes were correlated with the clinical characteristics of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
Spontaneous pelvic pain was uniquely characterized by functional activation within the right anterior insula, which correlated with clinical pain intensity. No group differences were found in regional gray matter volume, yet density of gray matter in pain relevant regions (anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortices) positively correlated with pain intensity and extent of pain chronicity. Moreover the correlation between white matter anisotropy and neocortical gray matter volume was disrupted in chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
We provide novel evidence that the pain of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome is associated with a chronic pelvic pain syndrome specific pattern of functional brain activation and brain anatomical reorganization. These findings necessitate further investigations into the role of central mechanisms in the initiation and maintenance of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
The Journal of urology 07/2011; 186(1):117-24. · 4.02 Impact Factor