About the MAPP Research Network

In 2008 the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network. This study represented a novel, highly collaborative and multidisciplinary research effort designed to better understand the underlying pathophysiology and patient “phenotypes” (i.e., observable biological and clinical characteristics) for the two most prominent chronic urologic pain conditions, Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS) in women and men and Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS) in men. Based on their shared symptoms and other similarities, IC/BPS and CP/CPPS are collectively referred to as Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (UCPPS) in MAPP Network studies.

The MAPP Research Network brought together a unique team of researchers with broad clinical, basic science, neuroscience, biostatistical, and epidemiological research expertise, among many others. Network studies utilized a highly integrated design and research approach that included exploring the interplay between urologic systems and other physiological systems to produce a systemic and holistic characterization of UCPPS (Figure 1). In addition, the MAPP Research Network worked to better understand the relationships between UCPPS and potentially related chronic overlapping pain conditions (COPCs), such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome. All Network studies shared the common goals of informing future clinical trials for UCPPS and ultimately improved clinical care for patients.

Figure 1. Exploring the interplay between urologic systems and other physiological systems to produce a systemic and holistic characterization of UCPPS

MAPP 1 EPS data domains
list of abbreviations from Fig.1

Over the course of 14 years the MAPP Research Network conducted two primary clinical protocols: The Trans-MAPP Epidemiology and Phenotyping Study (EPS) spanned the MAPP I phase of 2008-14 and The Trans-MAPP Symptom Pattern Study (SPS) spanned the MAPP II phase from 2014-2022. Numerous associated Ancillary Studies and local studies specific to individual Network sites were also supported through MAPP I and II.

Timeline for the MAPP Research Network’s Cohort Studies

Timeline for MAPP EPS and SPS

MAPP Network studies have provided critical new advances that have moved the UCPPS field forward, including through:

  • Describing the natural history and risk factors for UCPPS, as well as associations with COPCs;
  • Identification of distinct and clinically relevant UCPPS patient phenotypes (i.e., symptom profiles);
  • Uncovering new findings of underlying pathophysiology and mechanisms for UCPPS;
  • Providing a greatly expanded evidence base for future studies, including clinical trials, that may lead to improved clinical management strategies for patients;
  • Fostering additional, successful research applications for new basic, translational, and clinical studies of UCPPS, as well as expanding the community of UCPPS investigators and expertise;
  • Producing a legacy of diverse National resources and tools for supporting future studies of UCPPS.

For more information on IC/BPS and CP/CPPS and the Genesis of the MAPP Network see: