Retrograde Double-Labeling Demonstrates Convergent Afferent Innervation of the Prostate and Bladder

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Prostatic inflammation is a common histologic finding in men with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). It has been postulated that prostatic inflammation could sensitize afferent neurons innervating the bladder and thereby produce changes in voiding behavior. In support of this, we demonstrate an anatomic basis for pelvic cross-talk involving the prostate and bladder.


Retrograde labeling was performed by an application of a neuro-tracer Fast Blue (FB) to one side of either the anterior prostate (AP), dorsal lateral prostate (DLP)/ventral prostate (VP), bladder, or seminal vesicle (SV).


Examination of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron labeling revealed shared afferent innervation of the prostate and bladder at spinal segments of T13, L1, L2, L6, and S1. Dual labeling was performed by an application of FB and 1,1′-dioctadecyl-3,3,3′,3′-tetramethylindocarbocyaine perchlorate (DiI) to the AP and bladder, respectively. We observed double-labeled DRG neurons at T13, L1, L2, L6, and S1—a finding that proves convergent innervation of prostate and bladder.


Our observations demonstrate the potential for neural cross-talk between the prostate and bladder and support a postulated mechanism that prostatic inflammation may induce hyper-sensitization of bladder afferents and produce irritative LUTS.

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