The Center for Neurovisceral Sciences & Women's Health is composed of a cohesive group of clinical investigators and basic scientists with strong independent grant-supported research programs in the interactions between the nervous system and the viscera, with special emphasis on women's health and functional pain disorders, and sex-related differences in stress neurobiology (corticotropin releasing factor [CRF] signaling system). The majority of investigators have a track record of collaborations within a currently funded SCOR. The main focus of the Center is the identification of sex-related factors that play a role in the development, clinical manifestation and treatment response of two common visceral pain syndromes, e.g., irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and interstitial cystitis (IC). Both disorders are common, occur more commonly in females, appear to show sex differences in treatment responses and cause significant morbidity and impairment in quality of life. The Center has two clinical and two basic science Projects, which closely interdigitate and overlap in terms of thematic, experimental approach and hypotheses. State of the art technology ranging from molecular biological approaches, imaging of cells and the intact brain will be used to study specific aims in these 4 Projects: 1. Differences in central stress circuit responsiveness between women with and without chronic pelvic visceral symptoms (IBS, IC), and in an animal model of chronic stress. 2. Sex differences in mucosal neuro-endocrine-immune interactions in IBS patients, and relationship to symptoms. 3. CRF signaling pathways in stress-related visceral manifestation: sex difference and modulatory role of estrogen beta receptors. 4. The role of the peripheral CRF signaling system in modulating urothelial signaling in cat and rodent models, with an emphasis on sex differences. To facilitate the research, the Center has an Administrative Core and two Scientific Cores (Neuroendocrine Assay, Neuroimaging) and will take advantage of existing NIH-funded core and service facilities on campus, including the UCLA Brain Mapping Center and the GCRC. The Center provides an optimal environment for cooperation and collaboration among its investigators, who already have had a major impact on the field both individually, and as a cohesive group. Thus, the synergy expected from the Center promises to have a large impact upon expanded research into a highly prevalent, but inadequately treated area of women's health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Specialized Center (P50)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HOP-U (40))
Program Officer
Hamilton, Frank A
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University of California Los Angeles
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Los Angeles
United States
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