Partial recovery of voiding function in female mice following repeated psychological stress exposure

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Abstract

Psychological stress causes bladder dysfunction in humans and in rodent models, with increased urinary frequency and altered contractile responses evident following repeated environmental stress exposure. However, whether these changes persist after removal of the stressor is unknown, and the aim of this study was to determine if stress-induced changes in voiding behaviour and bladder function recover following removal of the stressor. Adult female mice were allocated to three groups: Unstressed, Stressed or Stressed + Recovery. Animals in the stressed groups were exposed to water avoidance stress for 1h/day for 10-days, with unstressed animals age-matched and housed under normal conditions. For recovery studies, animals were housed without stress exposure for an additional 10-days. Voiding behaviour was assessed periodically and animals sacrificed on day 10 (Unstressed and Stressed) or day 20 (Unstressed and Stressed + Recovery). Isolated whole bladder studies were used to assess compliance, urothelial mediator release and contractile responses. Exposure to stress increased plasma corticosterone levels almost three-fold (P<0.05) but this returned to baseline during the recovery period. Contractile responses of the bladder to carbachol and KCl were also increased following stress, and again fully recovered after a 10-day stress-free period. In contrast, stress increased urinary frequency four-fold (P<0.001), but this did not return fully to baseline during the recovery period. Bladder compliance was unchanged by stress; however, it was increased in the stressed + recovery group (P<0.05). Thus, following a stress-free period there is partial recovery of voiding behaviour, with an increase in bladder compliance possibly contributing to the compensatory mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0266458
JournalPLoS One
Volume17
Issue number4 April
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2022

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