Perioperative betamethasone treatment reduces signs of bladder dysfunction in a rat model for neurapraxia in female urogenital surgery

Fabio Castiglione, Alice Bergamini, Arianna Bettiga, Trinity J. Bivalacqua, Fabio Benigni, Frank Strittmatter, Giorgio Gandaglia, Patrizio Rigatti, Francesco Montorsi, Petter Hedlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Information on autonomic neurapraxia in female urogenital surgery is scarce, and a model to study it is not available. Objective: To develop a model to study the impact of autonomic neurapraxia on bladder function in female rats, as well as to assess the effects of corticosteroid therapy on the recovery of bladder function in this model. Design, setting, and participants: Female Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to bilateral pelvic nerve crush (PNC) and perioperatively treated with betamethasone or vehicle. Bladder function and morphology of bladder tissue were evaluated and compared with sham-operated rats. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Western blot, immunohistochemistry, organ bath experiments, and cystometry. Results and limitations: Sham-operated rats exhibited regular micturitions without nonvoiding contractions (NVCs). Crush of all nerve branches of the pelvic plexus or PNC resulted in overflow incontinence and/or NVCs. Betamethasone treatment improved recovery of regular micturitions (87.5% compared with 27% for vehicle; p < 0.05), reduced lowest bladder pressure (8 ± 2 cm H2O compared with 21 ± 5 cm H2O for vehicle; p < 0.05), and reduced the amplitude of NVCs but had no effect on NVC frequency in PNC rats. Compared with vehicle, betamethasone-treated PNC rats had less CD68 (a macrophage marker) in the pelvic plexus and bladder tissue. Isolated bladder from betamethasone-treated PNC rats exhibited better nerve-induced contractions, contained more cholinergic and sensory nerves, and expressed lower amounts of collagen III than bladder tissue from vehicle-treated rats. Conclusions: PNC causes autonomic neurapraxia and functional and morphologic changes of isolated bladder tissue that can be recorded as bladder dysfunction during awake cystometry in female rats. Perioperative systemic betamethasone treatment reduced macrophage contents of the pelvic plexus and bladder, partially counteracted changes in the bladder tissue, and had protective effects on micturition function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1076-1085
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Corticosteroids
  • Detrusor overactivity
  • Model
  • Nerve sparing
  • Neuropraxia
  • Pelvic
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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