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J Vis Exp. 2015 Aug 13;(102):e53181. doi: 10.3791/53181.

Assessment of Perigenital Sensitivity and Prostatic Mast Cell Activation in a Mouse Model of Neonatal Maternal Separation.

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Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center.
Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center;


Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) has a lifetime prevalence of 14% and is the most common urological diagnosis for men under the age of 50, yet it is the least understood and studied chronic pelvic pain disorder. A significant subset of patients with chronic pelvic pain report having experienced early life stress or abuse, which can markedly affect the functioning and regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Mast cell activation, which has been shown to be increased in both urine and expressed prostatic secretions of CP/CPPS patients, is partially regulated by downstream activation of the HPA axis. Neonatal maternal separation (NMS) has been used for over two decades to study the outcomes of early life stress in rodent models, including changes in the HPA axis and visceral sensitivity. Here we provide a detailed protocol for using NMS as a preclinical model of CP/CPPS in male C57BL/6 mice. We describe the methodology for performing NMS, assessing perigenital mechanical allodynia, and histological evidence of mast cell activation. We also provide evidence that early psychological stress can have long-lasting effects on the male urogenital system in mice.

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