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Brain Res. 1995 Apr 24;678(1-2):40-8.

Effect of capsaicin on micturition and associated reflexes in chronic spinal rats.

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Department of Surgery, Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


The role of capsaicin-sensitive bladder afferents in micturition was studied in unanesthetized chronic spinal rats. Reflex voiding in response to tactile stimulation of the perigenital region appeared 5-9 days after spinal cord injury (SCI) whereas voiding induced by bladder distension occurred 2-3 weeks after SCI. The frequency and amplitude of reflex bladder contractions recorded under isovolumetric conditions were similar in chronic spinal and urethane-anesthetized CNS-intact rats. However, cystometrograms (CMGs) performed 6-8 weeks after SCI revealed that the chronic spinal rats had larger bladder capacities (1.86 ml) than CNS-intact rats (0.48 ml) and also exhibited multiple, small-amplitude, nonvoiding bladder contractions that were not detected in CNS-intact rats. Administration of capsaicin (50 mg/kg s.c.) acutely (onset 14-40 min) suppressed reflex bladder activity induced by bladder distension or by perigenital stimulation in chronic spinal animals. However, pretreatment of chronic spinal rats with capsaicin (125 mg/kg s.c.) 4 days before the experiment did not depress voiding reflexes or change bladder capacity but did eliminate the nonvoiding contractions. Inhibition of reflex bladder contractions by mechanical stimulation of rectoanal canal or the uterine cervix-vagina was not altered by pretreatment with capsaicin. These data indicate that capsaicin-sensitive bladder afferents are not essential for the initiation of reflex micturition in chronic spinal rats. However, these afferents do contribute to hyperactivity of the bladder during the filling phase of the CMG. Thus, capsaicin-sensitive bladder afferents should be evaluated as possible targets for the pharmacological treatment of bladder hyperreflexia in patients with SCI.

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