Beyond the urothelium: Interplay between autonomic nervous system and bladder inflammation in urinary tract infection, bladder pain syndrome with interstitial cystitis and neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction in spinal cord injury—ICI-RS 2023

Michel Wyndaele, Ana Charrua, François Hervé, Patrik Aronsson, Luke Grundy, Vik Khullar, Alan Wein, Paul Abrams, Francisco Cruz, Célia Duarte Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction: Inflammation and neuronal hypersensitivity are reactive protective mechanisms after urothelial injury. In lower urinary tract dysfunctions (LUTD), such as urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder pain syndrome with interstitial cystitis (BPS/IC) and neurogenic LUTD after spinal cord injury (SCI), chronic inflammation can develop. It is unclear how the protective reactionary inflammation escalates into chronic disease in some patients. 

Methods: During its 2023 meeting in Bristol, the International Consultation on Incontinence-Research Society (ICI-RS) reviewed the urothelial and inflammatory changes after UTI, BPS/IC and SCI. Potential factors contributing to the evolution into chronic disease were explored in a think-tank. 

Results: Five topics were discussed. (1) Visceral fat metabolism participates in the systemic pro-inflammatory effect of noradrenalin in BPS/IC and SCI. Sympathetic nervous system-adipocyte-bladder crosstalk needs further investigation. (2) Sympathetic hyperactivity also potentiates immune depression in SCI and needs to be investigated in BPS/IC. Gabapentin and tumor necrosis factor-α are promising research targets. (3) The exact peripheral neurons involved in the integrative protective unit formed by nervous and immune systems need to be further identified. (4) Neurotransmitter changes in SCI and BPS/IC: Neurotransmitter crosstalk needs to be considered in identifying new therapeutic targets. (5) The change from eubiosis to dysbiosis in SCI can contribute to UTI susceptibility and needs to be unraveled. 

Conclusions: The think-tank discussed whether visceral fat metabolism, immune depression through sympathetic hyperactivity, peripheral nerves and neurotransmitter crosstalk, and the change in microbiome could provide explanations in the heterogenic development of chronic inflammation in LUTD. High-priority research questions were identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1283-1292
Number of pages10
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Volume43
Issue number6
Early online date25 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • autonomic nervous system
  • bladder pain syndrome
  • inflammation
  • interstitial cystitis
  • spinal cord injury
  • urinary tract infection
  • urothelium

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