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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2017 Sep 1;313(3):F796-F804. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00097.2017. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

The role of capsaicin-sensitive C-fiber afferent pathways in the control of micturition in spinal-intact and spinal cord-injured mice.

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Department of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Southern Knights' Laboratory, Okinawa, Japan.
Okinawa Kyodo Hospital, Okinawa, Japan.
Department of Urology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan; and.
Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Department of Urology, University of Yamanashi Graduate School of Medical Science, Chuo, Japan.
Department of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;


We examined bladder and urethral sphincter activity in mice with or without spinal cord injury (SCI) after C-fiber afferent desensitization induced by capsaicin pretreatment and changes in electrophysiological properties of mouse bladder afferent neurons 4 wk after SCI. Female C57BL/6N mice were divided into four groups: 1) spinal intact (SI)-control, 2) SI-capsaicin pretreatment (Cap), 3) SCI-control, and 4) SCI-Cap groups. Continuous cystometry and external urethral sphincter (EUS)-electromyogram (EMG) were conducted under an awake condition. In the Cap groups, capsaicin (25, 50, or 100 mg/kg) was injected subcutaneously 4 days before the experiments. In the SI-Cap group, 100 mg/kg capsaicin pretreatment significantly increased bladder capacity and decreased the silent period duration of EUS/EMG compared with the SI-control group. In the SCI-Cap group, 50 and 100 mg/kg capsaicin pretreatment decreased the number of nonvoiding contractions (NVCs) and the duration of reduced EUS activity during voiding, respectively, compared with the SCI-control group. In SCI mice, hexamethonium, a ganglionic blocker, almost completely blocked NVCs, suggesting that they are of neurogenic origin. Patch-clamp recordings in capsaicin-sensitive bladder afferent neurons from SCI mice showed hyperexcitability, which was evidenced by decreased spike thresholds and increased firing rate compared with SI mice. These results indicate that capsaicin-sensitive C-fiber afferent pathways, which become hyperexcitable after SCI, can modulate bladder and urethral sphincter activity in awake SI and SCI mice. Detrusor overactivity as shown by NVCs in SCI mice is significantly but partially dependent on capsaicin-sensitive C-fiber afferents, whereas the EUS relaxation during voiding is enhanced by capsaicin-sensitive C-fiber bladder afferents in SI and SCI mice.


C-fiber, capsaicin; mice; micturition; spinal cord injury

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