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DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-80794-0; PMCID: PMC7806916


Bladder and bowel dysfunction (BBD) is a common yet underdiagnosed paediatric entity that describes lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) accompanied by abnormal bowel patterns manifested as constipation and/or encopresis. LUTS usually manifest as urgency, urinary frequency, incontinence, and urinary tract infections (UTI). Despite increasing recognition of BBD as a risk factor for long-term urinary tract problems including recurrent UTI, vesicoureteral reflux, and renal scarring, the mechanisms underlying BBD have been unclear, and treatment remains empirical. We investigated how constipation affects the lower urinary tract function using a juvenile murine model of functional constipation. Following four days of functional constipation, animals developed LUTS including urinary frequency and detrusor overactivity evaluated by awake cystometry. Physiological examination of detrusor function in vitro using isolated bladder strips, demonstrated a significant increase in spontaneous contractions without affecting contractile force in response to electrical field stimulation, carbachol, and KCl. A significant upregulation of serotonin receptors, Htr2a and Htr2c, was observed in the bladders from mice with constipation, paralleled with augmented spontaneous contractions after pre-incubation of the bladder strips with 0.5 µM of serotonin. These results suggest that constipation induced detrusor overactivity and increased excitatory serotonin receptor activation in the urinary bladder, which contributes to the development of BBD.

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