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J Urol. 1998 Mar;159(3):1074-8.

Effect of intravesical capsaicin and vehicle on bladder integrity control and spinal cord injured rats.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



To determine the acute effect of intravesical capsaicin on bladder mucosal integrity in normal and spinal cord injured (SCI) rats.


Intravesical reagents were instilled in 5 groups of age and weight matched female rats: 1) control + normal saline solution (NSS), 2) control + ethanol (EtOH), 3) control + capsaicin/EtOH, 4) SCI + NSS, 5) SCI + capsaicin/EtOH. Intravesical instillations were performed 4 weeks after a standard T10 SCI. Intravesical capsaicin (1 mM.) was dissolved in 30% EtOH/NSS. The animals (n = 3 each group) were sacrificed at 30 minutes, 24 hours, 72 hours, and 7 days after intravesical instillation. Whole bladders were harvested, fixed in 10% buffered formalin, and paraffin embedded. Tissue blocks were blind coded and sectioned (5 microns thickness) for histopathological analysis. All sections were initially stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H & E). Specific staining for mucin carbohydrate moieties included periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) and alcian blue. Also, immunohistochemical staining for GP51 (a urinary glycoprotein) was performed.


Control and SCI rats exhibited similar bladder mucosal histology by H & E and mucin specific stains. Instillation of saline demonstrated no effect on bladder histology, whereas instillation of intravesical capsaicin induced a profound acute effect of thinning of the epithelium, submucosal edema, and diminished presence of GP51. EtOH produced similar pathological findings, but to a lesser degree than capsaicin. Intravesical capsaicin demonstrated a similar effect in both control and SCI animals. The peak effect was seen after 30 minutes and continued for 24 hours. Partial recovery was noted after 72 hours and complete recovery was evident by 1 week.


The control and SCI rats demonstrated a histologically similar mucosa and glycosaminoglycan layer. The effect of saline instillation on the mucosa was negligible. Intravesical capsaicin dissolved in 30% ethanol/NSS had a profound effect on the bladder urothelium submucosa that was more pronounced than that seen with the ethanol vehicle alone in normal animals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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