Objectives: To evaluate the role that intravesical P2X2/3 purinergic receptors (P2X2/3Rs) play in early and advanced neurogenic lower urinary tract (LUT) dysfunction after contusion spinal cord injury (SCI) in female rats. Materials and Methods: Female Sprague-Dawley rats received a thoracic Th8/Th9 spinal cord contusion with either force of 100 kDy (cN); moderate) or 150 kDy (cN; severe); Sham rats had no injury. Evaluations on urethane-anesthetised rats were conducted at either 2 or 4 weeks after SCI. LUT electrical signals and changes in bladder pressure were simultaneously recorded using cystometry and a set of custom-made flexible microelectrodes, before and after intravesical application of the P2X2/3R antagonist AF-353 (10 μM), to determine the contribution of P2X2/3R-mediated LUT modulation. Results: Severe SCI significantly increased bladder contraction frequency, and reduced both bladder pressure amplitude and intraluminal-pressure high-frequency oscillations (IPHFO). Intravesical P2X2/3R inhibition did not modify bladder pressure or IPHFO in the Sham and moderate-SCI rats, although did increase the intercontractile interval (ICI). At 2 weeks after SCI, the Sham and moderate-SCI rats had significant LUT electromyographic activity during voiding, with a noticeable reduction in LUT electrical signals seen at 4 weeks after SCI. Intravesical inhibition of P2X2/3R increased the ICI in the Sham and moderate-SCI rats at both time-points, but had no effect on rats with severe SCI. The external urethral sphincter (EUS) showed strong and P2X2/3R-independent electrical signals in the Sham and moderate-SCI rats in the early SCI stage. At 4 weeks after SCI, the responsiveness of the EUS was significantly attenuated, independently of SCI intensity. Conclusions: This study shows that electrophysiological properties of the LUT are progressively impaired depending on SCI intensity and that intravesical P2X2/3R inhibition can attenuate electrical activity in the neurogenic LUT at early, but not at semi-chronic SCI. This translational study should be useful for planning clinical evaluations.
- P2X3, P2X2 purinergic receptor
- lower urinary tract
- spinal cord injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas