Objectives: This study investigated the mechanisms inducing autonomic dysreflexia due to enhanced bladder-to-vascular reflexes in rats with spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: SCI was produced by the transection of the Th4-5 spinal cord in female Sprague-Dawley rats. At 4 weeks after SCI, changes in blood pressure during graded increases in intravesical pressure (20-60 cm H 2 O) were measured in spinal-intact (SI) and SCI rats under urethane anesthesia. In five animals, effects of C-fiber desensitization induced by intravesical application of resiniferatoxin (RTX), a TRPV1 agonist, on the bladder-to-vascular reflex were also examined. Nerve growth factor (NGF) levels of mucosa and detrusor muscle layers of the bladder were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression levels of TRPV1 and TRPA1 channels were also examined in laser captured bladder afferent neurons obtained from L6 DRG, which were labeled by DiI injected into the bladder wall. Results: In SI and SCI rats, systemic arterial blood pressure was increased in a pressure-dependent manner during increases in the intravesical pressure, with significantly higher blood pressure elevation at the intravesical pressure of 20 cm H 2 O in SCI rats vs SI rats. The arterial blood pressure responses to bladder distention were significantly reduced by RTX-induced desensitization of C-fiber bladder afferent pathways. SCI rats had higher NGF protein levels in the bladder and higher TRPV1 and TRPA1 mRNA levels in bladder afferent neurons compared with SI rats. Conclusions: The bladder-to-vascular reflex induced by TRPV1-expressing C-fiber afferents during bladder distention is enhanced after SCI in association with increased expression of NGF in the bladder and TRP channels in bladder afferent neurons.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology