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Identification and characterization of rostral ventromedial medulla neurons synaptically connected to the urinary bladder afferents in female rats with or without neonatal cystitis. J Comp Neurol 2022 Jun;530(8):1129-1147



Pubmed ID


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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85118668290 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   1 Citation


The neurons in the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) play a major role in pain modulation. We have previously shown that early-life noxious bladder stimuli in rats resulted in an overall spinal GABAergic disinhibition and a long-lasting bladder/colon sensitization when tested in adulthood. However, the neuromolecular alterations within RVM neurons in the pathophysiology of early life bladder inflammation have not been elucidated. In this study, we have identified and characterized RVM neurons that are synaptically linked to the bladder and colon and examined the effect of neonatal bladder inflammation on molecular expressions of these neurons. A transient bladder inflammation was induced by intravesicular instillation of protamine sulfate and zymosan during postnatal days 14 through 16 (P14-16) followed by pseudorabies virus PRV-152 and PRV-614 injections into the bladder and colon, respectively, on postnatal day P60. Tissues were examined 96 h postinoculation for serotonergic, GABAergic, and enkephalinergic expressions using in situ hybridization and/or immunohistochemistry techniques. The results revealed that > 50% of RVM neurons that are synaptically connected to the bladder (i.e., PRV-152+) were GABAergic, 40% enkephalinergic, and about 14% expressing serotonergic marker tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TpH2). Neonatal cystitis resulted in a significant increase in converging neurons in RVM receiving dual synaptic inputs from the bladder and colon. In addition, neonatal cystitis significantly downregulated vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT) with a concomitant increase in TpH2 expression in bladder-linked RVM neurons, suggesting an alteration in supraspinal signaling. These alterations of synaptic connectivity and GABAergic/serotonergic expressions in RVM neurons may contribute to bladder pain modulation and cross-organ visceral sensitivity.

Author List

Talluri B, Hoelzel F, Medda BK, Terashvili M, Sanvanson P, Shaker R, Banerjee A, Sengupta JN, Banerjee B


Anjishnu Banerjee PhD Associate Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Bidyut K. Medda PhD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Patrick P. Sanvanson MD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Jyoti N. Sengupta PhD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Medulla Oblongata
Rats, Sprague-Dawley
Urinary Bladder