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      The Influence of Early Life Experience on Visceral Pain


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          Pain is the most reported and troublesome symptom of nearly all functional disorders affecting the genitourinary and gastrointestinal organs. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS), vulvodynia, and/or chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS; collectively termed chronic pelvic pain syndromes) report pain severe enough to impact quality of life and often suffer from symptoms of or are diagnosed with more than one of these syndromes. This increased comorbidity between chronic pelvic pain syndromes, and with pain disorders of disparate body regions, as well as with mood disorders, can be influenced by disruptions in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates the response to stress and influences the perception of pain. Experiencing trauma, neglect, or abuse in early life can permanently affect the functioning of the HPA axis. As such, a significant proportion of patients suffering from comorbid chronic pelvic pain syndromes report a history of early life stress or trauma. Here we will report on how these early life experiences influence chronic pelvic pain in patients. We will also discuss various rodent models that have been developed to study this phenomenon to understand the mechanisms underlying HPA axis dysfunction, as well as potential underlying mechanisms connecting these syndromes to one another.

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          Most cited references221

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          Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition.

          Chronic exposure to stress hormones, whether it occurs during the prenatal period, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood or aging, has an impact on brain structures involved in cognition and mental health. However, the specific effects on the brain, behaviour and cognition emerge as a function of the timing and the duration of the exposure, and some also depend on the interaction between gene effects and previous exposure to environmental adversity. Advances in animal and human studies have made it possible to synthesize these findings, and in this Review a model is developed to explain why different disorders emerge in individuals exposed to stress at different times in their lives.
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            Historically, the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE) system has been implicated in arousal, but recent findings suggest that this system plays a more complex and specific role in the control of behavior than investigators previously thought. We review neurophysiological and modeling studies in monkey that support a new theory of LC-NE function. LC neurons exhibit two modes of activity, phasic and tonic. Phasic LC activation is driven by the outcome of task-related decision processes and is proposed to facilitate ensuing behaviors and to help optimize task performance (exploitation). When utility in the task wanes, LC neurons exhibit a tonic activity mode, associated with disengagement from the current task and a search for alternative behaviors (exploration). Monkey LC receives prominent, direct inputs from the anterior cingulate (ACC) and orbitofrontal cortices (OFC), both of which are thought to monitor task-related utility. We propose that these frontal areas produce the above patterns of LC activity to optimize utility on both short and long timescales.
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              Neural regulation of endocrine and autonomic stress responses.

              The survival and well-being of all species requires appropriate physiological responses to environmental and homeostatic challenges. The re- establishment and maintenance of homeostasis entails the coordinated activation and control of neuroendocrine and autonomic stress systems. These collective stress responses are mediated by largely overlapping circuits in the limbic forebrain, the hypothalamus and the brainstem, so that the respective contributions of the neuroendocrine and autonomic systems are tuned in accordance with stressor modality and intensity. Limbic regions that are responsible for regulating stress responses intersect with circuits that are responsible for memory and reward, providing a means to tailor the stress response with respect to prior experience and anticipated outcomes.

                Author and article information

                Front Syst Neurosci
                Front Syst Neurosci
                Front. Syst. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                26 January 2018
                : 12
                : 2
                [1]Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center , Kansas City, KS, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Jyoti N. Sengupta, Medical College of Wisconsin, United States

                Reviewed by: Catherine S. Hubbard, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, United States; Dervla O’Malley, University College Cork, Ireland

                *Correspondence: Julie A. Christianson jchristianson@ 123456kumc.edu
                Copyright © 2018 Fuentes and Christianson.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 29 September 2017
                : 12 January 2018
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 221, Pages: 15, Words: 14232
                Funded by: National Institutes of Health 10.13039/100000002
                Award ID: DK099611, DK103872, HD057850

                early life stress,neonatal maternal separation (nms),visceral hypersensitivity,hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (hpa) axis,crf,chronic pelvic pain


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