Accelerated onset of the vesicovesical reflex in postnatal NGF-OE mice and the role of neuropeptides

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The mechanisms underlying the postnatal maturation of micturition from a somatovesical to a vesicovesical reflex are not known but may involve neuropeptides in the lower urinary tract. A transgenic mouse model with chronic urothelial overexpression (OE) of NGF exhibited increased voiding frequency, increased number of non-voiding contractions, altered morphology and hyperinnervation of the urinary bladder by peptidergic (e.g., Sub P and CGRP) nerve fibers in the adult. In early postnatal and adult NGF-OE mice we have now examined: (1) micturition onset using filter paper void assays and open-outlet, continuous fill, conscious cystometry; (2) innervation and neurochemical coding of the suburothelial plexus of the urinary bladder using immunohistochemistry and semi-quantitative image analyses; (3) neuropeptide protein and transcript expression in urinary bladder of postnatal and adult NGF-OE mice using Q-PCR and ELISAs and (4) the effects of intravesical instillation of a neurokinin (NK)-1 receptor antagonist on bladder function in postnatal and adult NGF-OE mice using conscious cystometry. Postnatal NGF-OE mice exhibit age-dependent (R2 = 0.996–0.998; p ≤ 0.01) increases in Sub and CGRP expression in the urothelium and significantly (p ≤ 0.01) increased peptidergic hyperinnervation of the suburothelial nerve plexus. By as early as P7, NGF-OE mice exhibit a vesicovesical reflex in response to intravesical instillation of saline whereas littermate WT mice require perigenital stimulation to elicit a micturition reflex until P13 when vesicovesical reflexes are first observed. Intravesical instillation of a NK-1 receptor antagonist, netupitant (0.1 μg/ml), significantly (p ≤ 0.01) increased void volume and the interval between micturition events with no effects on bladder pressure (baseline, threshold, peak) in postnatal NGF-OE mice; effects on WT mice were few. NGF-induced pleiotropic effects on neuropeptide (e.g., Sub P) expression in the urinary bladder contribute to the maturation of the micturition reflex and are excitatory to the micturition reflex in postnatal NGF-OE mice. These studies provide insight into the mechanisms that contribute to the postnatal development of the micturition reflex.

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