NIAMS Update January 2010

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
January 21, 2010
The NIAMS Update is a monthly digest published for those interested in the latest scientific news and resources on diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin. We encourage further dissemination of this resource.
Contact Information

Office of Communications and Public Liaison

Janet S. Austin, Ph.D.

Melanie M. Martinez, M.P.A.
Public Liaison Officer

Trish Reynolds, R.N., M.S.
Media Liaison

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

NIAMS ARRA Chronicles: ARRA Spurs Ideal Match in UCSD Muscle Program
“It’s hard to underestimate the power of synergy,” says Richard Lieber, Ph.D., professor of Orthopaedics and Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). “Our program now has that synergy in Simon, since he can speak the languages of ‘muscle,’ ‘exercise,’ ‘diabetes’ and ‘metabolism.’ ”

Dr. Lieber speaks of Simon Schenk, Ph.D., who was recently added to Dr. Lieber’s muscle research team thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and NIAMS.

NIAMS ARRA Chronicles: Osteoarthritis: Pain Relief “Only a Phone Call Away?”
Thanks to ARRA funding, scientists at Stony Brook University have begun testing the effectiveness of a telephone- and nurse-based system that extends an osteoarthritis (OA) pain management system beyond the doctors’ offices. Joan Broderick, Ph.D., an associate professor in Stony Brook’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, is using ARRA funds from NIAMS to obtain the technology and staff to carry out the project.

Itch-Specific Neuronal Pathway Revealed
Chronic itch is an often difficult and sometimes debilitating symptom of many skin diseases and other disorders. Researchers have been trying to determine for decades if there are separate neuronal pathways for pain and itch. However, studies of underlying mechanisms have long been complicated and hindered by the difficulties of distinguishing itch from pain at molecular and cellular levels.

Now, researchers supported by NIAMS have discovered itch-specific neurons that express a protein known as gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) in the spinal cord of mice. Without GRPR-expressing neurons, there is no sensation of itch. The present study, recently published in Science, provides the most comprehensive behavioral evidence to support the idea that distinct subsets of neurons transmit the different sensations of pain and itch in the spinal cord.

Serotonin and Bone Mass Inversely Linked in Women
Circulating levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are inversely associated with bone mass in women, according to a new study co-funded by NIAMS. The work, published online in July 2009 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, indicates that serotonin can serve as a marker for low bone mass. The findings also suggest that studies of serotonin synthesis and metabolism pathways are needed to develop drugs that target the neurotransmitter’s effects on bone mass without affecting the nervous system.

Protein and Muscle Cell Structures Linked in Muscular Dystrophy Muscle Loss
Scientists supported by NIAMS have found that dystrophin, the large protein absent from people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, plays a direct role in properly aligning microtubules, the muscle cell components that provide structure and organization. Without dystrophin, microtubules are disorganized, resulting in the muscle tearing and cell destruction during contraction that characterize the disease.

This new information, say researchers, could help to guide the development of gene and other molecular therapies to restore the function of dystrophin and reverse the pathology of the disease. The work was reported in the August 3, 2009, issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

NIAMS Researchers Discover a New Mechanism for Stem Cell Development
Researchers from NIAMS have discovered a new mechanism for cell differentiation in mouse embryonic and skeletal muscle stem cells. The findings were recently published in Molecular Cell.

Study Challenges Effectiveness of Common Spine Procedure
Research supported by NIAMS raises questions about a routine surgical treatment for vertebral (spine) fractures. The study, the first of its type, appeared in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

NIAMS FY 2010 Funding Plan Is on the Web
The NIAMS Operating Level is $539,082,000. Each fiscal year (FY), once an appropriation has been received, the Institute develops an operating plan for the funding of research and training grants. Many factors occurring throughout the FY can affect the operating policies; thus, they are subject to change. For the most current information, it is always best to check with an appropriate Institute official.

Other Federal News
Disparities/Minority Health: Most Mexican Patients Prefer Their Rheumatologist Make Treatment Decisions for Them
When patients in the United States are surveyed about the role they want to play in their health care, most claim they want to actively participate. According to a new study funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), patients south of the U.S. border prefer to take a more passive approach in their care. Researchers surveyed 200 patients who were being treated in Guadalajara, Mexico, for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or other rheumatic diseases—all chronic conditions that require regular medical visits. The patients indicated a moderate level of trust in their doctors, giving them an average score of 7 on a 10-point scale.

Meetings and Events
NIAMS Roundtable Discussions: 2009 Summaries Available
In 2009, NIAMS hosted a series of roundtables to solicit input that would help inform the Institute as to the clinical trials that it will undertake. The discussions helped to identify both current clinical challenges and pathways by which NIAMS could solicit input from communities as to needs and opportunities in the future. This guidance will assist the Institute in its support for investigator-initiated trials, which the Institute anticipates will continue to constitute the bulk of its clinical trial portfolio.

NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting
The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held February 2, 2010, in Building 31, 6th floor, C Wing, Conference Room 6, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Campus.

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH Campus. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research on a variety of topics. The lectures are Continuing Medical Education-certified lectures, open to the public and available live via Webcast.

Upcoming lectures:

January 27, 2010
Dr. Arthur Horwich
“Molecular Chaperones in Protein Folding and Neurodegeneration”

February 3, 2010
Dr. Ellen Rothenberg
“Stem Cell to T Cell: Molecular Anatomy of Commitment”

February 10, 2010
Dr. Fred Gage
“Neural Plasticity and Diversity in the Adult Mammalian Brain”

February 17, 2010
Dr. Helen Mayberg
“Tuning Depression Circuits Using Deep Brain Stimulation”

February 24, 2010
Dr. Michael Dustin
“Creating Super-regulatory T Lymphocytes”

NIH Research Matters
NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.

NIH Public Bulletin
Read about the latest public events, activities and health information resources from NIH in the latest issue of the NIH Public Bulletin.

NIH News in Health
Read practical health information in NIH News in Health, which is reviewed by NIH’s medical experts and is based on research conducted either by NIH’s own scientists or by our grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.

Understanding Acne: How To Banish Breakouts
There are many myths about what causes acne. Some people blame foods for their outbreaks. Some think that dirty skin causes it. But there’s little evidence that either has much effect on most people’s acne. People of all races and ages get acne.

New Publications

Cirugía de reemplazo articular: Información para Comunidades Multiculturales/Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multicultural Communities
This bilingual booklet (Spanish/English) contains general information about joint replacement surgery. It describes some things to think about when considering joint replacement surgery and different types of surgery that may be done. It also highlights some examples of what happens during and after joint replacement surgery. Other sources of information are also included.

Funding Announcements
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Recovery Act Limited Competition: NIH Director’s Opportunity for Research in Five Thematic Areas (RC4)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: February 15, 2010
Application Receipt Date: March 15, 2010

NIAMS Research Announcements

NIAMS-Specific T32 Goals and Guidance

Other Research Announcements

NCMHD Health Disparities Research on Minority and Underserved Populations (R01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: January 26, 2010
Application Receipt Date: February 26, 2010

Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (Parent K08)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (Parent K23)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (Parent K24)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

Mentored Quantitative Research Development Award (Parent K25)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

NIH Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

Research Project Grant (Parent R01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

NIH Exploratory Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

Academic Research Enhancement Award (Parent R15)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13/U13)
Letters of Intent Receipt Dates: Not applicable
Application Receipt Dates: Standard dates apply

First Human Embryonic Stem Cells Approved for Use Under the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research

NIH Guidance Under the FY 2010 Continuing Resolution: Additional Prohibition on Use of Funds

2010 NIH Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration: Philadelphia, PA, and Portland, OR

Clarification of Terms and Conditions of Awards Using Human Embryonic Stem Cells

NIH Announces Termination of Several Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)

Availability of Reissued Parent Announcements for Due Dates on or After January 25, 2010

Implementation of the Federal Financial Report (SF-425)—Interim Guidance

Notice of Legislative Mandates in Effect for FY 2010

Salary Limitation on Grants, Cooperative Agreements and Contracts

Notice of Cancellation of the Next Receipt Date for the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence Program Announcement (PAR-09-079)

If you would like to review information about funding opportunities more frequently than our monthly updates allow, see the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide.