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J Urol. 2008 Oct;180(4):1527-31. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2008.06.006. Epub 2008 Aug 16.

Urine is necessary to provoke bladder inflammation in protamine sulfate induced urothelial injury.

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Division of Urology, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.



The bladder is normally impermeable to possible hostile environmental factors and toxic urinary wastes. Any disruption of the permeability barrier would permit the leakage of urine constituents into the underlying cells layers and subsequent inflammation. Protamine sulfate, which increases urothelial permeability, is used in experimental models of cystitis. We examined whether protamine sulfate alone could cause bladder inflammation or if the association of protamine sulfate and urine is needed for this condition.


Female Wistar rats (Center for the Development of Experimental Models for Medicine and Biology, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil) had the bladder catheterized and instilled with protamine sulfate (10 mg) or sterile saline for 30 minutes. To exclude urine other groups of rats underwent bilateral nephrectomy and the same procedure was used. One day after instillation the bladders were removed for histopathology. Edema and vascular congestion were graded from 0-none to 3-severe. Polymorphonuclear and mast cells were counted. The Kruskal-Wallis test was performed for statistical analysis.


Intravesical instillation of protamine sulfate in nonnephrectomized rats led to inflammation, in contrast to findings in rats instilled with saline. On the other hand, nephrectomized rats showed no inflammatory changes following the instillation of protamine sulfate or saline. The mast cell count was similar in all groups.


Bladder inflammation in this experimental model of urothelial injury was not due to protamine sulfate alone. The association of protamine sulfate and urine was necessary to trigger the inflammatory cascade. Thus, urine indeed has an important role in the development of bladder inflammation in an environment of higher urothelial permeability.

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