Brain network activity associated with altered motor control in individuals with chronic pain is not well understood. Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS) is a debilitating condition in which previous studies have revealed altered resting pelvic floor muscle activity in men with CP/CPPS compared to healthy controls. We hypothesized that the brain networks controlling pelvic floor muscles would also show altered resting state function in men with CP/CPPS. Here we describe the results of the first test of this hypothesis focusing on the motor cortical regions, termed pelvic-motor, that can directly activate pelvic floor muscles. A group of men with CP/CPPS (N = 28), as well as group of age-matched healthy male controls (N = 27), had resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans as part of the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network study. Brain maps of the functional connectivity of pelvic-motor were compared between groups. A significant group difference was observed in the functional connectivity between pelvic-motor and the right posterior insula. The effect size of this group difference was among the largest effect sizes in functional connectivity between all pairs of 165 anatomically-defined subregions of the brain. Interestingly, many of the atlas region pairs with large effect sizes also involved other subregions of the insular cortices. We conclude that functional connectivity between motor cortex and the posterior insula may be among the most important markers of altered brain function in men with CP/CPPS, and may represent changes in the integration of viscerosensory and motor processing.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.nicl.2015.05.013
View details for Web of Science ID 000373187100053
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4474411