Mast cell-derived histamine mediates cystitis pain

Charles N. Rudick*, Paul J. Bryce, Laura A. Guichelaar, Ruth E. Berry, David J. Klumpp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Background: Mast cells trigger inflammation that is associated with local pain, but the mechanisms mediating pain are unclear, interstitial cystitis (IC) is a bladder disease that causes debilitating pelvit pain of unknown origin and without consistent inflammation, but IC symptoms correlate with elevated bladder lamina propria mast cell counts. We hypothesized that mast cells mediate pelvic pain directly and examined pain behavior using a murine model that recapitulates key aspects of IC. Methods and Findings: Infection of mice with pseudorabies virus (PRV) induces a neurogenic cystitis associated with lamina propria mast cell accumulation dependent upon tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF), TNF-mediated bladder barrier dysfunction, and pelvic pain behavior, but the molecular basis for pelvic pain is unknown. In this study, both PRV-induced pelvic pain and bladder pathophysiology were abrogated in mast cell-deficient mice but were restored by reconstitution with wild type bone marrow. Pelvic pain developed normally in TNF- and TNF receptor-deficient mice, while bladder pathophysiology was abrogated. Conversely, genetic or pharmacologic disruption of histamine receptor H1R or H2R attenuated pelvic pain without altering pathophysiology. Conclusions: These data demonstrate that mast cells promote cystitis pain and bladder pathophysiology through the separable actions of histamine and TNF, respectively. Therefore, pain is independent of pathology and inflammation, and histamine receptors represent direct therapeutic targets for pain in IC and other chronic pain conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2096
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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