Organ cross talk modulates pelvic pain

Charles N. Rudick, Michael C. Chen, Anne K. Mongiu, David J. Klumpp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic bladder inflammatory disease of unknown etiology that is often regarded as a neurogenic cystitis. IC is associated with urothelial lesions, voiding dysfunction, and pain in the pelvic/perineal area, and diet can exacerbate IC symptoms. In this study, we used a murine neurogenic cystitis model to investigate the development of pelvic pain behavior. Neurogenic cystitis was induced by the injection of Bartha's strain of pseudorabies virus (PRV) into the abductor caudalis dorsalis tail base muscle of female C57BL/6J mice. Infectious PRV virions were isolated only from the spinal cord, confirming the centrally mediated nature of this neurogenic cystitis model. Pelvic pain was assessed using von Frey filament stimulation to the pelvic region, and mice infected with PRV developed progressive pelvic pain. Pelvic pain was alleviated by 2% lidocaine instillation into either the bladder or the colon but not following lidocaine instillation into the uterus. The bladders of PRV-infected mice showed markers of inflammation and increased vascular permeability compared with controls. In contrast, colon histology was normal and vascular permeability was unchanged, suggesting that development of pelvic pain was due only to bladder inflammation. Bladder-induced pelvic pain was also exacerbated by colonic administration of a subthreshold dose of capsaicin. These data indicate organ cross talk in pelvic pain and modulation of pain responses by visceral inputs distinct from the inflamed site. Furthermore, these data suggest a mechanism by which dietary modification benefits pelvic pain symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1191-R1198
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Bladder
  • Diet
  • Interstitial cystitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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