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Auton Neurosci. 2016 Oct;200:29-34. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2015.06.002. Epub 2015 Jun 6.

The unexplored relationship between urinary tract infections and the autonomic nervous system.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110-1010, United States; Center for Women's Infectious Disease Research, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110-1010, United States. Electronic address: hibbing@wusm.wustl.edu.
2
Department of Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110-1010, United States; Center for Women's Infectious Disease Research, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110-1010, United States.
3
Department of Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110-1010, United States; Center for Women's Infectious Disease Research, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110-1010, United States. Electronic address: hultgren@wusm.wustl.edu.

Abstract

Urinary tract infections (UTIs), the majority of which are caused by uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC), are extremely common infections that preferentially effect women. Additional complicating factors, such as catheterization, diabetes, and spinal cord injuries can increase the frequency and severity of UTIs. The rise of antimicrobial resistant uropathogens and the ability of this disease to chronically recur make the development of alternative preventative and therapeutic modalities a priority. The major symptoms of UTIs, urgency, frequency, and dysuria, are readouts of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the majority of the factors that lead to complicated UTIs have been shown to impact ANS function. This review summarizes the decades' long efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms of the interactions between UPEC and the host, with a particular focus on the recent findings revealing the molecular, bacteriological, immunological and epidemiological complexity of pathogenesis. Additionally, we describe the progress that has been made in: i) generating vaccines and anti-virulence compounds that prevent and/or treat UTI by blocking bacterial adherence to urinary tract tissue and; and ii) elucidating the mechanism by which anti-inflammatories are able to alleviate symptoms and improve disease prognosis. Finally, the potential relationships between the ANS and UTI are considered throughout. While these relationships have not been experimentally explored, the known interactions between numerous UTI characteristics (symptoms, complicating factors, and inflammation) and ANS function suggest that UTIs are directly impacting ANS stimulation and that ANS (dys)function may alter UTI prognosis.

KEYWORDS:

Autonomic nervous system; Complicated UTI; Therapeutics; Urinary tract infection; Uropathogenic E. coli

PMID:
26108548
PMCID:
PMC4670803
DOI:
10.1016/j.autneu.2015.06.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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