Bladder afferents play a pivotal role in bladder function such as urine storage and micturition as well as conscious sensations such as urgency and pain. Endocannabinoids are ligands of cannabinoid 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) receptors but can influence the activity of a variety of G protein-coupled receptors as well as ligand-gated and voltage-gated channels. It is still not known which classes of bladder afferents are influenced by CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists. This study aimed to determine the role of CB2 receptors in two major classes of afferents in the guinea pig bladder: Mucosal and muscular-mucosal. The mechanosensitivity of these two classes was determined by an ex vivo extracellular electrophysiological recording technique. A stable analog of endocannabinoid anandamide, methanandamide (mAEA), potentiated the mechanosensitivity of mucosal bladder afferents in response to stroking. In the presence of a transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 antagonist (capsazepine), the effect of mAEA switched from excitatory to inhibitory. A selective CB2 receptor agonist, 4-quinolone-3-carboxyamide (4Q3C), significantly inhibited the mechanosensitivity of mucosal bladder afferents to stroking. In the presence of a CB2 receptor antagonist, the inhibitory effect of 4Q3C was lost. mAEA and 4Q3C did not affect responses to stretch and/or mucosal stroking of muscular-mucosal afferents. Our findings revealed that agonists of CB2 receptors selectively inhibited the mechanosensitivity of capsaicin-sensitive mucosal bladder afferents but not muscular-mucosal afferents. This may have important implications for understanding of the role of endocannabinoids in modulating bladder function and sensation in health and diseases.
- Bladder afferents
- Cannabinoid 2 receptor agonists
- TRPV1 channels