Increased expression/function of the sensory neuron channel, TRPA1, was found to be sufficient to account for hyperalgesia in a model of persistent bladder pain.
Urinary bladder pain is a primary symptom associated with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. We used systemic injections of cyclophosphamide (CYP), an alkylating antineoplastic agent, to induce cystitis and examine the roles of 2 channels previously demonstrated to be required for inflammatory visceral hyperalgesia: transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1) and ankyrin-1 (TRPA1). Injection of CYP (100 mg/kg, i.p.) every other day for 5 days was accompanied by bladder edema and urothelial ulceration, but without significant plasma extravasation or infiltration of neutrophils. Toluidine blue staining showed a significant increase in the number of degranulated bladder mast cells after CYP treatment. Despite this mild pathology, CYP-treated mice exhibited bladder hyperalgesia 1 day after the final injection that persisted 7 days later. Although many previous studies of visceral hyperalgesia have reported changes in dorsal root ganglion neuron TRPV1 expression and/or function, we found no change in bladder afferent TRPV1 expression or sensitivity on the basis of the percentage of bladder afferents responsive to capsaicin, including at submaximal concentrations. In contrast, the percentage of bladder afferents expressing functional TRPA1 protein (ie, those responsive to mustard oil) increased ˜2.5-fold 1 day after CYP treatment, and remained significantly elevated 7 days later. Moreover, bladder hyperalgesia was reversed by acute treatment with the TRPA1 antagonist HC-030031 (300 mg/kg, i.p.). Our results indicate that CYP-induced bladder hyperalgesia can be induced without robust inflammation or changes in primary afferent TRPV1. However, significant changes were observed in TRPA1 expression, and blockade of TRPA1 alleviated CYP-induced bladder hyperalgesia.