Chronic Prostatitis Induces Bladder Hypersensitivity and Sensitizes Bladder Afferents in the Mouse

Erica S. Schwartz, Jun Ho La, Erin E. Young, Bin Feng, Sonali Joyce, G. F. Gebhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome causes symptoms that include the frequent and urgent need to urinate, pain or burning during urination and pain radiating to the back, abdomen and/or colorectum. These bladder symptoms suggest that chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome is associated with sensitization of adjacent organs, termed cross-organ sensitization. The objective of this study was to determine the extent of 1) changes in immunomodulatory mediators in the prostate and bladder after inflammation of the prostate and 2) bladder function and bladder afferent sensitization. Materials and Methods Prostate and bladder histology, immunohistochemistry and expression of immunomodulatory targets were examined weekly after zymosan or vehicle was injected in the dorsal lobe of the mouse prostate. Cystometry, bladder and bladder afferent sensitivity were also assessed weekly. Results Prostate inflammation induced significant up-regulation in proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor-α) and IL-10 (interleukin-10), growth factor NGF (nerve growth factor), and T-lymphocyte markers FoxP3, CD4 and CD8 in the prostate and the bladder. Notably, prostatitis significantly increased urinary voiding frequency, induced hypersensitivity to bladder distension and sensitized bladder afferents. We also examined sensory (afferent) co-innervation by injecting retrograde tracers DiI and Fast Blue in the bladder wall and the prostate, respectively. This showed that a significant proportion (approximately 17%) of dorsal root ganglion afferent somata contained tracers from the bladder and the prostate. Conclusions These observations support an afferent contribution to chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome and cross-organ sensitization from prostate to bladder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-901
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • bladder
  • pain
  • prostate
  • prostatitis
  • visceral afferents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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