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Drugs That Block mTOR Might Reduce Pain and Bladder Hyperactivity

Liang S, Li J, Gou X, Chen D. Blocking mammalian target of rapamycin alleviates bladder hyperactivity and pain in rats with cystitis. Mol Pain. 2016 Oct 25;12. pii: 1744806916668868. Print 2016.

Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an enzyme in the body that may contribute to transmission and modulation of pain. Since pain is a hallmark of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS), investigators wanted to know more about the relationship between mTOR and this disorder. To do this, they administered an mTOR-blocking drug called rapamycin to rats that had an induced form of interstitial cystitis. By blocking mTOR, the investigators were able to demonstrate a reduction in both pain and bladder hyperactivity. They also tried using a drug that blocks PI3K, an enzyme that is part of the same signaling pathway as mTOR, and once again were able to demonstrate a reduction in pain and bladder hyperactivity. Thus, for the first time, investigators have been able to demonstrate that targeting these pathways could reduce symptoms in this animal model of interstitial cystitis. Although the finding is early, it does seem that targeting this pathway alleviates pain, raising the possibility that one day, drugs that target these molecules could be used to help manage the symptoms of patients with IC/BPS.