Increased urinary nitrite excretion in primary enuresis: effects of indomethacin treatment on urinary and serum osmolality and electrolytes, urinary volumes and nitrite excretion

BJU Int. 2002 Aug;90(3):294-301. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-410x.2002.02803.x.


Objective: To assess urinary nitrite excretion, a stable end product of nitric oxide (NO), in patients with enuresis and in normal controls, and to evaluate the effects of indomethacin (a potent prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor) on urinary nitrite excretion, other urinary variables and bladder capacity.

Patients and methods: The study comprised 10 patients with primary enuresis and 10 normal comparable controls (age range 6-14 years). Nitrite was assayed in 'spot' morning urine samples in both the enuretics and normal controls. Enuretics were then given 50 mg indomethacin suppositories each night; urine volume, urinary osmolality and electrolytes, serum osmolality and electrolytes and urinary nitrite were assayed before indomethacin treatment and after 15 days of treatment.

Results: The mean (sd) urinary nitrite excretion was 24.4 (19.6) micromol/L in normal children and 275.9 (111.2) micromol/L in enuretics (P<0.05). With indomethacin, the urinary nitrite concentration was significantly decreased to 141 (45.1) micromol/L (P<0.05) and associated with a significant reduction in bed-wetting episodes and voiding frequency. The functional bladder capacity was <70% of the predicted value for age in six of the patients; they had significant improvements on indomethacin, to values similar to those in patients with a nearly normal functional bladder capacity. Indomethacin decreased the 24-h urinary volume by 41%, the night volume by 40%, clearance of free water by 46% and increased the day : night urinary volume ratio by 55%. The absolute amounts of urinary calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, urea, creatinine, and glucose were lower on indomethacin, although not statistically significantly so. Indomethacin decreased the 24-h urinary and 'spot' morning osmolality and osmotic clearance. There were no significant changes in serum osmolality and electrolyte concentrations. Indomethacin also decreased the absolute amount of urinary sodium, chloride and potassium, fractional sodium and potassium excretion, and filtered sodium. Creatinine clearance was decreased by 20% (P>0.05) and normal 24-h urinary protein was significantly lower, by 47%, after indomethacin treatment (P<0.05).

Conclusion: Urinary nitrite excretion increased significantly in patients with primary nocturnal enuresis; indomethacin markedly reduced bed-wetting episodes and decreased the frequency of voiding in enuretics with small or normal functional bladder capacity, which was associated with a significant decrease in urinary nitrite excretion. Indomethacin reduced bed-wetting by decreasing the urine volume, clearance of free water and urinary electrolytes, and through possible effects on bladder and urethral contraction, by inhibiting NO and prostaglandin synthesis. NO and prostaglandins might be important in the pathogenesis of primary enuresis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Chlorides / urine
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Electrolytes / urine
  • Enuresis / drug therapy
  • Enuresis / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Nitrites / urine*
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Sodium / urine
  • Urination / drug effects
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Chlorides
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Electrolytes
  • Nitrites
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Sodium
  • Indomethacin