Early in life bladder inflammation alters opioid peptide content in the spinal cord and bladder of adult female rats

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Previous research suggests that a failure of opioid inhibition may contribute to chronic bladder pain. We determined how acute adult and/or prior early in life exposure to bladder inflammation alters the adult content of endogenous opioid peptides in the bladder, spinal cord and blood. Materials and Methods: Inflammation was induced by intravesical administration of zymosan. Female Sprague-Dawley® rats were exposed to anesthesia only or zymosan early in life (postnatal days 14 to 16) and anesthesia only or zymosan as adults (ages 12 to 17 weeks). Thoracolumbar and lumbosacral segments of the spinal cord, and blood and bladders were collected 24 hours after adult treatment. Opioid peptide content was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: Early in life bladder inflammation alone produced a chronic increase in dynorphin A (1-17) in the lumbosacral spinal cord. When early in life inflammation was followed by adult re-inflammation, spinal cord dynorphin remained unchanged but bladder dynorphin was decreased. In addition, early in life inflammation combined with adult bladder inflammation decreased endomorphin-2 content in the thoracolumbar spinal cord. Neither early in life nor adult bladder inflammation affected thoracolumbar dynorphin, serum dynorphin, lumbosacral endomorphin-2 or plasma β-endorphin. Conclusions: Several opioid peptides were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay following early in life and adult bladder inflammation. The changes observed are consistent with the view that early in life bladder inflammation alone can chronically alter spinal cord peptide content. When coupled with adult re-inflammation, these changes could set the neurochemical stage to support bladder hypersensitivity. © 2013 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Shaffer AD; Ness TJ; Robbins MT; Randich A
  • Start Page

  • 352
  • End Page

  • 358
  • Volume

  • 189
  • Issue

  • 1