The NIDDK has funded a program to develop a comprehensive understanding of how nociceptive or pain receptor systems develop in the mouse embryo and mature in the adult. This basic understanding will provide a foundation for pre-clinical and clinical research into chronic pelvic pain and similar health conditions, which affect 1-6% of women and 1-3% of men. This project will capture three-dimensional images of the developing nervous systems relating to pain in the mouse embryo. We will use molecular biology techniques to visualize the developing neurons in a range of colors that can be captured using a confocal microscope. To capture a full image of the embryo region at the resolution needed to see individual nerve fibers (about 1 thousandth of a millimeter) we will use a new Mesoscope microscope invented in the UK, which can scan the whole embryo non-destructively. The resulting images will provide a massive volume of data and information to be mined for cellular detail. We will deliver the image data to the research community and public via web-browser based viewers that allow the researcher to view any part of the volume at full resolution. The data will be freely accessible to the public and can be downloaded for further research. We will capture a time-series of these 3D images to build for the first time a detailed but complete view of the development of the pain receptor and sensory systems in mammals. The information about the developing nerves will be held in a database linked to the NIH/NIDDK funded Genitourinary Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP) database.
The nGUDMAP atlas project 3D Neural Connection and Visceral Pain Receptor Atlas for Genitourinary Tract Development will deliver a full 3D view of the developing nerves and connections for sensory and pain receptors in the mouse. This will inform clinical and pre-clinical research into pelvic pain and related conditions, which affect 1-6% of women and 1-3% on men. The benefit will be a better understanding of the underlying systems, which in turn should lead to better treatments for the condition and better drugs to relieve symptoms.