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Br J Urol. 1998 Feb;81(2):224-8.

Increased expression of substance P receptor-encoding mRNA in bladder biopsies from patients with interstitial cystitis.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesiology, New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



To determine whether substance P (SP, also known as neurokinin 1, NK1) receptors are differentially expressed in bladder biopsies from patients with interstitial cystitis (IC) compared with matched controls.


Cold-cup biopsies were taken during routine diagnostic cystoscopy. NK1-receptor expression was assessed using a quantitative analysis of NK1-receptor-encoding mRNA in bladder biopsies from patients and controls using in situ hybridization histochemistry (ISHH) combined with autoradiographic image analysis.


Autoradiographic signal indicating the presence of NK1-encoding mRNA was localized to detrusor muscle, urothelium and vascular structures. In the bladder vasculature, the signal was predominantly associated with endothelial cells. NK1 receptor-encoding mRNA within the vascular endothelium was increased in the biopsies obtained from patients with IC.


Increased levels of NK1 receptor-encoding mRNA within the bladder vascular endothelium suggests the up-regulation of NK1 receptor as a putative factor in the pathogenesis of pain related to IC. Increased responsiveness to SP released from the perivascular sensory terminals may result in a local cascade of neurogenic inflammatory responses which trigger the pathophysiological changes, including pain, characteristic of IC.

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