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Acute ampakines increase voiding function and coordination in a rat model of SCI. bioRxiv 2023 Nov 17



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Neurogenic bladder dysfunction causes urological complications and reduces the quality of life in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). Glutamatergic signaling via AMPA receptors is fundamentally important to the neural circuits controlling bladder voiding. Ampakines are positive allosteric modulators of AMPA receptors that can enhance the function of glutamatergic neural circuits after SCI. We hypothesized that ampakines can acutely stimulate bladder voiding that has been impaired due to thoracic contusion SCI. Adult female Sprague Dawley rats received a unilateral contusion of the T9 spinal cord (n=10). Bladder function (cystometry) and coordination with the external urethral sphincter (EUS) were assessed five days post-SCI under urethane anesthesia. Data were compared to responses in spinal intact rats (n=8). The "low impact" ampakine CX1739 (5, 10, or 15 mg/kg) or vehicle (HPCD) was administered intravenously. The HPCD vehicle had no discernable impact on voiding. In contrast, following CX1739, the pressure threshold for inducing bladder contraction, voided volume, and the interval between bladder contractions were significantly reduced. These responses occurred in a dose-dependent manner. We conclude that modulating AMPA receptor function using ampakines can rapidly improve bladder voiding capability at sub-acute time points following contusion SCI. These results may provide a new and translatable method for therapeutic targeting of bladder dysfunction acutely after SCI.

Author List

Rana S, Alom F, Martinez RC, Fuller DD, Mickle AD


Aaron D. Mickle PhD Associate Professor in the Physiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin