Inflammation triggered by the NLRP3 inflammasome is a critical driver of diabetic bladder dysfunction.

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Diabetes is a rapidly expanding epidemic projected to affect as many as 1 in 3 Americans by 2050. This disease is characterized by devastating complications brought about high glucose and metabolic derangement. The most common of these complications is diabetic bladder dysfunction (DBD) and estimates suggest that 50-80% of patients experience this disorder. Unfortunately, the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Study suggests that strict glucose control does not decrease ones risk for incontinence, although it does decrease the risk of other complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy. Thus, there is a significant unmet need to better understand DBD in order to develop targeted therapies to alleviate patient suffering. Recently, the research community has come to understand that diabetes produces a systemic state of low-level inflammation known as meta-inflammation and attention has focused on a role for the sterile inflammation-inducing structure known as the NLRP3 inflammasome. In this review, we will examine the evidence that NLRP3 plays a central role in inducing DBD and driving its progression towards an underactive phenotype.





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Hughes, Francis M, Michael R Odom, Anissa Cervantes and J Todd Purves (2022). Inflammation triggered by the NLRP3 inflammasome is a critical driver of diabetic bladder dysfunction. Frontiers in physiology, 13. p. 920487. 10.3389/fphys.2022.920487 Retrieved from

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Monty Hughes

Assistant Professor in Urology

 Dr. Hughes received his Ph.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina and was a post doc at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NIH. He then joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor (with tenure). Following a brief stint as the director of the biology division of a start-up pharmaceutical company, he joined forces with Dr. Purves at the Medical University of South Carolina to begin this lab focused on benign urinary disorders. Dr. Hughes has been at Duke since 2015. He is currently an Assistant Professor working within the Department of Surgery and Division of Urology. He serves as the Director of the Urinary Dysfunction Laboratory which studies the role of inflammation in disorders such as bladder outlet obstruction and diabetic bladder dysfunction. In association with Dr. J Todd Purves, this lab has been instrumental in demonstrating the central importance of the NLRP3 inflammasome in sensing the biochemical stressors associated with these disorders and translating them into an inflammatory signal. This signal is ultimately responsible for changes in voiding function, denervation and fibrosis.

Michael Odom

Postdoctoral Associate

J Todd Purves

Professor of Urology

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