Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Urology. 2007 Apr;69(4 Suppl):24-33.

Neural upregulation in interstitial cystitis.

Author information

Division of Urology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a syndrome of bladder hypersensitivity with symptoms of urgency, frequency, and chronic pelvic pain. Although no consensus has been reached on the underlying cause of IC, several pathophysiologic mechanisms, including epithelial dysfunction, mast cell activation, and neurogenic inflammation, have been proposed. Despite multiple different causes of urinary cystitis, the bladder's response to cystitis is limited and typical. Animal experiments have shown upregulation of proteinase-activated receptors, tryptase, beta-nerve growth factor, inducible nitric oxide synthase, nuclear transcription factor-kappaB, c-Fos, phosphodiesterase 1C, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase, and proenkephalin B. After the noxious stimulus has abated, downregulation of genes appears to follow. Distention of the bladder results in the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from urothelial cells, which activates purinergic P2X3 receptors. Activation by ATP of P2X3-expressing afferents is a fundamental signaling factor in bladder sensation and appears to play a role in bladder reflexes. Fos proteins present in spinal cord neurons have been shown to be upregulated in animals that have undergone cyclophosphamide-induced chemical cystitis. These and other findings suggest that neural upregulation occurs both peripherally and centrally in subjects with chronic cystitis. It is unclear whether neural mechanisms and inflammation are the cause of IC or the result of other initiating events. Neural upregulation is known to play a role in the chronicity of pain, urgency, and frequency and represents an exciting area of research that may lead to additional treatments and a better understanding of IC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons


    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center