Botulinum toxin A inhibits ATP release from bladder urothelium after chronic spinal cord injury

Neurochem Int. 2004 Dec;45(7):987-93. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2004.06.001.


The effects of mechanoreceptor stimulation and subsequent ATP release in spinal cord injured and normal bladders was examined to demonstrate if spinal cord injury (SCI) modulates the basal or evoked release of ATP from bladder urothelium and whether intravesical botulinum toxin A (BTX-A) administration inhibits urothelial ATP release, a measure of sensory nerve activation. A Ussing chamber was used to isolate and separately measure resting and mechanoreceptor evoked (e.g. hypoosmotic stimulation) ATP release from urothelial and serosal sides of the bladder. Following spinal cord injury, resting urothelial release of ATP was ninefold higher than that of normal rats. Botulinum toxin A instillation did not significantly affect the resting release of ATP after spinal cord injury. Evoked ATP release following hypoosmotic stimulation was significantly higher in chronic spinal cord injured compared to normal rat bladders. However, botulinum toxin A treatment markedly reduced ATP release in spinal cord injured bladders by 53% suggesting that ATP release by mechanoreceptor stimulation, as opposed to basal release, occurs by exocytotic mechanisms. In contrast, there was no significant difference in basal or evoked ATP release from bladder serosa following spinal cord injury. Moreover, intravesical instillation of botulinum toxin A did not affect ATP release from the serosal side after spinal cord injury, suggesting that its effects were confined to the urothelial side of the bladder preparation. In summary: (1) increased release of ATP from the urothelium of spinal cord injured bladders may contribute to the development of bladder hyperactivity and, (2) mechanoreceptor stimulated vesicular ATP release, as opposed to basal non-vesicular release of ATP, is significantly inhibited in spinal cord injured bladders by intravesical instillation of botulinum toxin A. These results may have important relevance in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying plasticity of bladder afferent pathways following SCI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / pharmacology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism*
  • Urinary Bladder / drug effects*
  • Urinary Bladder / metabolism
  • Urothelium / drug effects
  • Urothelium / metabolism


  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A